Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Half a Bag of Grapefruit

The heat from the car heater was almost oppressive, but it was too cold to turn it off. The only two working controls were blazing and off, so I chose to leave it on with one window cracked about an inch. The streets were covered in snow as I drove home from the store in the dark. With sometimes as little as $40.00 a week to feed my husband, my younger brother and sister, my daughter, and me, with another child due within weeks, shopping was a real exercise in menu planning and bargain hunting.

"Bring half of that bag of grapefruit to Leslie." The voice wasn't audible, but it might as well have been. That would be nuts, Lord. Who would want grapefruit? Is that really you? I wasn't sure if I was just having a crazy idea of my own.

"Bring Leslie the grapefruit." I can just imagine the expression on her face when I drop by this late and leave her grapefruit of all things. Are you sure? I hated looking foolish, and this sure seemed like a screwy thing to do. "Bring Leslie the grapefruit." Okay, so I knew it was the Lord, but this was still a screwy thing to do.

Really, Lord? Grapefruit? But I'd had the request three times so, feeling foolish, I made a slight detour to my childbirth instructor's house. I emptied half the grapefruit into a spare grocery bag and headed for the door before I could change my mind. There was a light on inside, but no one answered my knock, so I left the grapefruit in front of the side door.

Okay Lord. If you really wanted me to do this, let her know they're there. Still, I felt like I could have imagined the whole thing and had just done something very strange. After all, I only bought the grapefruit because they were on a really good sale and because I figured I should eat them, though I didn't like them very well.

By the time I navigated the roads home I had forgotten all about them.

Tuesday night the next week, I showed up at my childbirth class. When we took a break midway through the class mingled in the kitchen for snacks. "How are things going?" I asked Leslie. Leslie was in the midst of a traumatic time with her ex-husband and the woman he had left her for.

"This week I was sitting at my desk, praying and just crying to the Lord about how awful everything is and how I wanted to give up. Jim had bailed on another visit with the girls and they were so devastated I just felt like I couldn't go on."

"As I was crying, I thought I heard a sound in the driveway, so I went to check. There, in the snow was a bag of grapefruit. I just stood there crying. No one but the Lord knows how much I love grapefruit. It was like the Lord reached down and said, 'Do you see how much I love you?'"

I felt as though all the air had been sucked from my lungs. I almost got dizzy as I realized what the Lord had done through those silly grapefruit. I had nearly not done what God had asked because it seemed so silly, and I was afraid of being embarrassed. I had argued with the Lord about what he wanted me to do, and he was trying to send a love message to Leslie and he used ME. Insignificant, poor as a church mouse me.

It's a humbling thing to realize that I heard the voice of God. It's a shame I wasn't ready to obey immediately. Why would I argue with God? And why is it that I wasn't sure it was God's voice? Maybe because I don't listen often enough. Oh Lord, let me be ready to do whatever silly-sounding thing you ask me to do, and make me ready to hear and recognize your voice. I am willing to be an instrument of your hands. Send me.

Based on actual events. Names have been changed.

1 comment:

Beth said...

This is so cool. God cares about every detail of our lives. Being an answer to someone else's prayer is almost even better than getting my own answered. And this story is not unique; I've heard many such stories. God cares about every person to this degree.