October 21, 2013

Introducing the Why

I stood in the middle of a line that stretched around the east side of TD Ameritrade ballpark in Omaha, Nebraska, home of the NCAA Men’s College World Series (CWS). I’d spent many childhood summers at the CWS with my best buds, chewing sunflower seeds and getting sunburned in the steaming left-field bleachers. This was my first chance to be back in Omaha during the tournament since I’d moved to California in 2008, and good tickets were not easy to come by. Rather than first come first served, the process for purchasing tickets was a random drawing. Everyone in line was given a ticket number. If your number landed in a favorable spot, you’d be lucky enough to be able to buy reserved seats. Simple.

I whispered a prayer, “Lord, I’d really like to be able to go to the game tonight.”

At 9:30 a.m. the first number was drawn. Less than 15 minutes later I was the proud owner of four reserved tickets. Coincidence, right?

* * *

My little sister, Pami, was flying into Bakersfield to spend a week with me. Unfortunately, heavy fog wouldn’t allow her evening flight to land locally. So she was diverted to Palm Springs, nearly four hours away. With no good alternative, my buddy and I hopped into his SUV. When we finally got home, it was close to 6:00 a.m. A few hours later it was already time to head into work. Still in a bit of a daze, I was surprised to see flashing red lights in my rearview mirror. The first ticket of my life wasn’t for speeding; rather, I’d been caught doing a rolling “California stop” at a stop sign. Now I was tired and angry.

I expressed my feelings to God, “Father, I could really use a pick-me-up right now; just a small reassurance that You’ll help me get through the rest of this day.”

As I pulled into the parking garage at the hospital, the very first parking spot on the first floor was open. That never happens. Coincidence, right?

* * *

To celebrate our one-year anniversary, Natalie and I decided to do something neither of us had done before: go on a cruise. With about 10 weeks left before our departure, everything was pretty much set. Cruise booked, check. Flight booked, check. Time off from work, check. My passport, check. Her passport, well, uh, oops.

So began the process of tearing our house apart to find Natalie’s passport (which we thought might be expired anyway). After more than an hour of fruitless searching, I had resigned myself to Google to refresh my memory on the passport application process. But then I did something I should have done before we even started looking: I walked into the back of the house, grabbed my wife’s hands, and asked God to help us locate her document.

After retreating back to Google, I heard a shriek from the back room. Her passport, check. Coincidence, right?

* * *

Have you ever felt guilty about praying for the little things? Why would God care about this? He has much bigger issues to deal with.

Think about it this way: In Luke 16:10 Jesus comments that those who are faithful in little things will be faithful in big things. Most of the time we apply these words to ourselves and those around us, as we should.

But have you ever thought of that verse as a promise? As I see God work in the smallest ways in my everyday life, my faith is strengthened for times of great trial and adversity.

Does God care about baseball, parking spaces, and passports? I have no idea. But I do know that He cares about me. If you’re frustrated about something little, send up a prayer. God may be trying to show you a glimpse of His love and faithfulness in the monotony of everyday life.

And no, it’s not a coincidence.