Our worship of God is confirmed and tangible when we are attentive and obedient to His voice and leadership in our everyday lives. God has shown and taught me this many times, but one incident really brought this home to me. I hope it encourages you.

I thank God for all the faithful people who read this blog.

God bless you as we worship Him together!

Chris

Sometimes God’s grace is revealed in candy bars we never eat.photo-1418669112725-fb499fb61127

It was a typical weekday afternoon, and I was late getting out of a long, intense staff meeting. When stressful meetings take place, I’ve discovered it’s wise to get out of the building and as my older brother once counseled, “just breathe”.  My plan was to drive home a few miles away, make a simple lunch, clear my mind and then head back to work.

At the mid-point of my homeward trek, I remembered that our kitchen was devoid of all lunch supplies. No food.  With the clock ticking, my emotions elevated, and hunger tugging at me I turned the car around and headed to the nearby big box grocery retailer. I parked the car and entered the store through a less-conspicuous entrance so I could quickly enter and leave without being cornered by someone.

About 15 feet into the store I passed by a multi-tiered metal clearance rack near the personal care section. I rarely ever take the time to look at the items on this unit such as discontinued hair care products with huge hand-written price tags and exotic foods that I frankly don’t care to try, thank you.

But this time my eye caught an extra large dark chocolate candy bar, the decadently rich kind that requires a couple people or a few days to consume.  At that moment, I experienced something I can only describe as a voice in the depth of my being whisper, “Buy that chocolate bar”.  I stopped and looked at the sticker on the bar that said ” Closeout: $1.”  I briefly put the candy back on the rack, then thought again and decided it might make a nice gift for my wife when she got home from work.

Placing it in my cart I went back into my lunch food search mode and within a couple minutes had all the necessary items in my cart. I headed to the checkout area and chose the lane closest to my exit that seemed to have the shortest line. With only two women in front of me, I thought this should be a breeze, just in and out.

As the first woman emptied her fully loaded cart, it was obvious she was not a happy shopper.  The cashier sullenly completed the transaction, and I could feel the tension as the irritated customer moved down the conveyor line to bag her items.

At that moment I realized I was so focused on my agenda that I had not thought about praying for the people God put in my path. I asked God to change my heart and enter this situation.

Just then, I noticed the frail woman directly in front of me in line. I quickly estimated her to be a woman in her early to mid-80s.  As I looked at the few and meager ‘meal-for-one’ items she was getting ready to buy I realized she probably lived alone, and this could be her weekly trip to buy food.  Her hands slightly trembled as she took the wallet from her purse and meticulously gathered the cash and change needed to complete her purchase. As the cashier handed her the receipt, she slowly made her way to the conveyor on the opposite side of the disgruntled woman who was still bagging her groceries.

It only took a few moments for the cashier to scan my groceries. I completed my electronic payment then smiled and calmly waited for the first woman to finish bagging her items so I could take care of mine.

Then the still small voice whispered again, “Give the candy bar to the older woman.” It dawned on me that this was God’s voice, and He was asking me to seize the moment and follow through on His directions, even if it meant I looked foolish.

I hesitantly made my way over to the older woman and said “Excuse me, do you like chocolate?”

With a look of surprise she quietly said, “Why, yes, I do.”

I extended the candy bar to her and said, “Here, this is a gift for you.”

What happened next took my breath away.

With grateful eyes, she looked at me as she softly spoke,  “How thoughtful. Today is my birthday, and I didn’t expect anything”.

She didn’t expect anything, but God had something ready for her: The gift of His grace.

I know because I heard His voice, even when I didn’t understand His plan. Now I did. At that moment, I understood God’s grace in a way I never had before. Through most of my adult life, I’ve known and experienced God’s grace for me.  Now I realized that God also desires His grace through me to the people He places in my path. My heart was full to overflowing, and I whispered a prayer of thanks to God, who gave me the precious gift of seeing His grace in action. All I had to do was listen to His voice and follow His lead.

It didn’t stop there. The cashier and the other woman also heard her words. God’s grace melted the tension as they smiled and simultaneously wished the woman a happy birthday.

As she turned to leave, I gave the woman a gentle hug and wished her a blessed birthday. I bagged my groceries and walked back to the car with a new sense of peace, hope, and love that I would carry through the day.

With the store in my rearview mirror, I headed for home, thanking God for His grace…

…Shown through the gift of a closeout candy bar.