I've been thinking a lot this week about a habit that my parents and at least one of my siblings have built into their lives. They are prolific walkers and/or runners, and whenever they are out and about and they see a penny on the ground, they pick it up and keep it as a reminder of God's provision. Each penny that they find (and there have been a lot of these pennies) is a tangible reminder to return to trusting wholeheartedly in God - for little things and for big things. It is also an incredible reminder that God works through little things to accomplish and overcome big things.
I've never (in my recent memory, anyway) been big on pennies. I think they are annoying and trivial and a waste of resources to produce. I also don't use cash a lot, so I don't see the change build up quickly or anything like that. In a spiritual corollary, I often wrestle with the "little things" that God asks me to be faithful to or trust him with. I want to be given the big responsibilities and I want to see God answer the big prayers, but an ongoing journey that God is continuing to walk with me on is that I need to be be faithful in every aspect of what he calls me to do, not just in the things that I think are worthy of my effort.
We have been spending quite a bit of time at the hospital this week visiting our son. Because of the location (and whatever other reasons might be available for this fleecing), the parking ramp at our hospital is a 'pay to park' arrangement. At the beginning of the week, I started doing some math in my head and I started thinking that we might well end up spending a couple hundred bucks (just on parking!) over the course of a couple weeks. Pretty much as soon as I started really thinking about that, Sarah came home and told me that she had just found out that we could get one free parking pass a day from the NICU and get discount tickets from them for any other visits. That was very exciting news for me to hear (yes - I do get excited about little things like this!) and I was tremendously blessed to know that God was actively looking and planning for ways to provide for me and my family - even before I had asked Him for anything!
We have also received numerous other free parking tickets this week - from the NICU staff and others in the hospital and random other people or circumstances as well. To share one specific story from three days ago - I had dropped Sarah off to visit Levi and I was coming back later to spend some time with him and to bring Sarah home after we were done. I heard someone calling me as I opened the door to go in the hospital and I turned around to see someone that I had never seen before motioning toward me. I walked over to her and she handed me a parking pass and said "I bought several of these today and my sister just passed away, so I wanted to give you this." I was stunned! I immediately told her that I was very sorry for the loss of her sister, and as I was walking away I started thinking that I should pray for her. As I turned around to talk to her again, I saw that they were already driving away. I have prayed for this lady and her family several times and I'm sorry that I didn't take the opportunity more immediately to pray directly for her.
This story has been an incredible reminder for me about the way that God provides from unexpected sources and also about His desire for me to be sensitive to His leading at all times. These parking passes have been God's pennies for me and His consistent desire to have me return to the phrase that is on our pennies and all our currency - In God We Trust.
As we are struggling with Levi's health and wondering what is going on and when will he come home and how will we be able to make everything work, I am thankful that God is continuing to remind me that He is in control and that He wants me to trust him about little things like our parking passes as well as for the big things like the life and health of my son.
I hope and pray that Levi will continue to be healthy and grow and develop quickly. I also continue to hope and pray that God will shape and mold me to be able to hear Him say "Well done, good and faithful servant!" I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy through Jesus Christ and for all the ways that He connects with each of us to communicate exactly what we need. I hope that God will increase my faith and trust and your faith and trust in Him just a little bit more today.
Matthew 25:21 (ESV)
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’