Friday, February 06, 2009

Not What I Expected

It’s a family joke. Perhaps in more households than just our own. The males (no offense intended) were born without the ability to find lost things.

“Honey? Do we have any toothpicks?”

“Yes, dear. In the spice cabinet.”

“I’m looking in the spice cabinet. They’re not here.”

“Yes, they are.” By this time, I’ve already stopped whatever I was doing and am heading for the kitchen to solve his toothpick mystery. Ah, there they are. In the spice cabinet. Front row.

“I didn’t see them,” he says.

“I know, dear.”

“I thought they were in a red and white box. Wasn’t expecting yellow.”

That’s what stops me. He couldn’t find the cotton balls because they were on the second shelf, not the top one, as he expected. He couldn’t find ME in a crowd, because I was wearing my sister’s coat.

I can’t fault him, though, much as that might be in my nature. I do the same thing. I don’t recognize the Lord’s answers to my prayers because they don’t come packaged as I expected. I thought I’d see my friend Mary healed of cancer. God took her Home for healing. I thought financial provision would come wrapped in an unexpected check. It arrived as endurance. I looked for spiritual growth in soul-stirring conferences and high-powered retreats. It appeared disguised as heartbreak.  I hadn’t thought to look there.

After 36 years of marriage to a hyper-observant wife, my husband is learning to look for lost items in unexpected forms. And after years of being surprised by the shape of God’s answers, I’m discovering where they hide and why I’ve sometimes missed them.

He didn’t fail to answer me. I failed to notice.


Eileen said...

Once again you've nailed ME. I don't pay attention.