Just What I Needed

I turned the corner to leave the cereal aisle and there she stood.  A teaching colleague from years past; a friend that I hadn’t talked to in years pushed her cart with the week’s groceries.

You know how it goes, after the initial surprise, we caught up on stuff. You know, things like family. “How are the kids doing? Really they’re that old!?” Topics that only scratched the surface to be sure, but useful for folks who’ve been apart for a time. It kept the conversation going a bit.

As we chatted a little more we dodged the folks trying to make their way to the Special K.  We rearranged our carts so shoppers could get by then the conversation changed. The topic turned to God.  Yep, it happened right there in the grocery store, next to the Frosted Mini Wheats. Right there among shoppers filling their carts with tomorrow’s breakfast, in stepped God.

Several years ago, she and her husband left secure teaching jobs in a stable Christian school to start up a Christian school in the same town, in the heart of a neighborhood rife with poverty, instability and crime. A gutsy move, I thought at the time. They said, a calling from God.

God calls, indeed. He’s a God that not only calls, but over the years he’s demonstrated that he equips and blesses. Over the years God has made that little school a blessing to the neighborhood. He brought the right people together, gave them the courage to take a leap of faith and through them multiplied his blessing and grace to an impoverished neighborhood. God was and is at work through the Tree of Life School in the Edison neighborhood of Kalamazoo, Michigan. It’s an incredible story, to be sure.

That’s about where our conversation ended. For me it was an important reminder that God graciously walks daily with me too, as I try to fulfill his calling. It was a reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness right there in the cereal aisle. Today, a little chat about God with a friend, just down the way from the Corn Flakes, was just what I needed.

Today’s gift.


It was dark this morning when I started my walk. Cold, too, thanks to the clear sky. Venus, the brightest object in the morning sky at that point, glowed in the east. The planet accompanied me as I walked alone down the path.

As I walked through the tunnel of trees, I met my morning surprise. It dawned on me that in a few weeks, when the leaves pop out again, there would not be much chance of seeing anything noteworthy through the thick canopy. Yet, this morning, peeking around naked branches, Venus and I played our game of hide-and-seek, coaxing grins from me as I trudged on.  But, that wasn’t the surprise.

So there I was walking deep in my thoughts, deep in my prayers, alone, in the dark, surrounded by silence except for my mumbled prayers. Then, under the canopy of trees, nothing. 

Everything stopped. No praying. No more steps. Silent and frozen in place, I turned and looked to the east, speechless.

I don’t believe things happen by chance. I believe that even in ordinary everyday happenings there’s a plan, a purpose, a design by God. At times we can say, “Ah, that was a God thing.” Other times we’re left scratching our heads wondering.

This morning as I gazed at the rising waning crescent moon, I gasped. The moon’s beauty caught me by surprise. I was speechless. The slim, orange, lunar slice appeared huge on the horizon.  Balancing on one tip, the crescent was perfectly framed by the trees. I was in awe. I was at the right place at the right time to experience a remarkable celestial event.

Things happen for a purpose.  It was this unexpected, surprising bit of God’s handiwork this morning that reminded me that I don’t walk alone. He is always with me. Surely, today’s gift of unexpected delight.

“The heavens declare the glory of God.” Psalm 19:1


The following picture, taken with my phone, in limited light, with cold shaky hands doesn’t do justice to what I experienced. I thought I’d include it anyway.