The most recent incident happened one morning as my husband, Hank, and I were looking around the kitchen, realizing that almost everything in the room was vintage. The only things that weren't made before 1950 were the dishwasher and Mr. Coffee. Okay, maybe the toaster is only from the '60s, but you get my point. Now I refuse to give up the dishwasher, and we haven't found a successful way of hiding it, so that's a dead issue. But, on the other hand, something could be done about the coffee pot. I casually mentioned that I'd check the thrift store next time and went on flipping the pancakes.
The following week I came across a West Bend percolator coffee pot for $3.50. Inside was the aluminum basket, cord and owner's manual; all in great shape. Flipping through the manual, I found a page that read "Please record date of purchase here for warranty purposes." In an old school script, someone had written in pencil the exact month, day and year of Hank's birthday.
About six years ago, good friends of ours from high school lost their baby in utero at seven months. It seemed to be only a matter of mere days when complications escalated, and the worst was a reality. The mother delivered a stillborn baby girl and named her Emily. I was four months pregnant at the time with my second child and hearing the news was devastating.
For our fifth wedding anniversary, Hank's parents gave us $25. Typically we'd use the money for a nice dinner out, but that year I decided to go Bible shopping. I had a pretty persnickety list of requirements. I wanted (1) a King James version* (2) in a simple, traditional style. I wanted (3) family tree pages so I could record births, marriages and deaths. (4) I didn't want Jesus' words printed in red. (5) No study guide questions in the back, and (6) no cheesy, outdated photos of the Mass parts. This was going to be the Schimstock Family Bible to pass down through the generations, and I wanted it perfect.
So I went to the local Christian bookstore and browsed their expansive collection of Bibles. Standing in front of a huge wall of options, I couldn't find what I wanted. For nearly half an hour, I flipped through Book after Book, and none of them met all of my criteria. Discouraged, I was about to go home empty handed when I spotted one copy bound in white, with gold edging on the pages and a ribbon bookmark. This Bible was on sale for $20 and had unequivocally everything I wanted. When I took it to the check-out counter, the clerk turned it over in her hands and said she'd never seen it before.
No, I don't believe any of these things happened just randomly. The coffee pot, the dump truck and the Bible were all brought into my life at exactly the moment that I needed it, for exactly the right reasons. I believe that God presents each of us with offerings, both great and small, as reminders that He's still watching. The key is to recognize those moments and act on them. Give thanks for the blessings in your life (I really do love coffee). Reach out to others when they need it (our friends went on to have a healthy baby girl). Take the time to strengthen your Faith (our Bible is filling with family memories). God helps those who help themselves, but He's willing to give you a hand once in a while.
*Some scholars believe that Shakespeare had a hand in translating the King James version of the Bible. Being a Shakespeare fanatic, I thrill at the possibility. It does make sense that if you were the King of England, rewriting the Bible in 1611 to bear your name, you would call upon the greatest writers of the day. One especially tantalizing clue can be found in Psalm 46. Count forty-six words in from the beginning, and you'll find the word "shake." Count forty-six words in from the end, and you'll find the word "spear." Shakespeare was age forty-six in the year 1610 when this text was being commissioned.