The boy, I’d planned to take. Groaning to his father (“I don’t really have time for this”), I’d zipped up his jacket and buckled him in, breathing a prayer for my husband as he and his truck turned left out of the drive, and I and my blue van turned right.
I was headed for The Goshen News, my paper of record, to pick up a letter from its publisher to slip into my query packets. Seeing the work that had piled up, I’d nearly emailed him to say, “I’ll pop in another time.” Goshen, after all, isn’t really “on my way” to anything, and it took some effort to get there.
Nevertheless, I’d been feeling an inexplicable urgency, and I knew it was time to mail those packets. So, sighing, I parked downtown, unbuckled Little, and walked into the offices.
To find that he wasn’t there. What? “Oh, you just missed him,” said the bored-looking receptionist. “He was in, said he wasn’t feeling well, and he went home.” What?! “Do you know how hard it is for me to get here?” I thought, but did not say. Thinking of the reports that had piled up, I groaned again, scribbled a note, and stepped back out into the brilliant fall day.
My little boy in his brand-new shoes and jeans stopped, plopping down on a quaint iron bench. “I just want to sit here, Mom. Look! This bench is just my size.”
“How about a hot chocolate?” I said, thinking of the coffee shop we’d just passed. “They have tables outside. Wanna sit there for just a minute and have some chocolate?” Beaming, he hopped up, blue eyes shining, and he, his new shoes, and I hurried in to The Electric Brew.
Drinks in hand, we sat down at a wrought iron table beneath a large, taupe umbrella. “Fall is really here,” I thought, sipping my mocha. The sky was clear and bright in a crisp cerulean that only appears in the autumn months.
Main Street, I noted, had truly undergone a transformation. Many of the buildings were brick Victorians, and the shop owners had worked hard, along with the town, dressing up the heart of the city.
It was a busy morning there on Main. Traffic flowed, people rushing past. The courtyard where we sat was encircled with flowers, blooming to perfection. Why are the colors so sharp in the fall,I wondered.
Looking down, we saw it: a tiny sparrow was weaving its way through the legs of the tables and chairs, hopping along there on the cement, looking for its morning provisions.
“It’s a sparrow!” I exclaimed to Little. “He’s looking for his breakfast.” He leaned down to watch, fascinated, as the bird hopped to the corner, dipping its head, up-down, up-down, having found some food.
“God feeds the birds,” I said to my boy. “Jesus knew that bird was coming this morning, and He came and sprinkled crumbs for him.”
Jesus knew that bird was coming, and He knew where it would be…
And there came the whisper: “All is well, and all shall be well.” Blinking at the tears that came, swallowing hard the lump, I stopped, thinking of what it is that’s concerning me today.
There, in the beauty of a perfect autumn morning, I felt the truth of it come: The God who feeds the sparrow, who knows where it is and where it will be, cares for us, too. He knows where we are, you and I, and He knows where we will be. He knows what we need, and He knows how to provide.
No, it wasn’t the appointment I’d planned, but the Father of Lights, the Gentle Shepherd, knew what appointment this mama really needed. He’d prepared a feast for my heart with a little boy, a tiny sparrow, and a cup of chocolate.
Blessed be His name.
It hit me, after I’d written this post, that this very morning, I’d opened His Word, finding this in the Psalm: “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning, for in Thee do I trust.” I’d offered it up right along with the Psalmist, heart eager, desperate, to hear the lovingkindness of my Lord. Later, I sat in that courtyard, not having planned to, and heard, indeed, His lovingkindness. God is great, and God is good!