The Perfect Thing

Shopping is not my thing. Some call it retail therapy. I need therapy before, during, and after I shop. But once in a while, I find the thrill that comes from shopping. God meets me in the store, and my soul is satisfied. Okay, that may be a bit extreme, but let’s just say it was fun for the moment, and my soul was satisfied the other day.

I was out looking for all the gifts that are needed in June—graduations, birthdays, Father’s Day, and the like. While standing in line, with a few items in hand, I usually glance at all the objects on display for those last minute, “I really need,” items…sort of like how they put all the sweets right by the check-out in the grocery store, and I’m starving! So there I was, looking at all the items, and I spotted something that I could scarcely believe. It was a candle. But this was no ordinary candle. It was labeled, “Warm Tobacco Pipe.” I picked it up and lifted the lid. Sure enough, it smelled just like a pipe. Now you might be asking, who would want that? Well, I knew the perfect person. My sister-in-law had just been telling me how she loves the smell of a pipe, but my brother was not about to smoke one. We even joked that maybe she could find a candle with that scent, and my brother could just put an unlit pipe in his mouth. Of course, we knew that would not be happening.

Why, oh why, would God show up in such a silly way…in a candle, that smells like a pipe? I could have been in any store. I could have missed this onecandle, the only one like it on the shelf. If the label had been turned away from me, I never would have seen it. But I did see it, and I could not resist buying it. It was soon on its way to Tennessee. My sister-in-law didn’t know it was coming. I knew she would laugh out loud when she opened the box. I knew she would show her family. I knew she would probably put it by her reading area. But would she really light it? Well, she just called to tell me how excited she was to get it! And, she said she will be lighting it. She had looked in multiple stores on their trip home from California for just such a candle. There were none to be found. In a world where things can be so tough, God shows up in the most unique ways to let us know that He hears the desires of our heart. He can be such fun! But for some, that involves seeing our God meet needs during difficult times, too. A good friend of mine said “Good-Bye” to her dad this week. Another friend is taking on new challenges that stretch her to the limit. Others are going through stressful situations that seem to have no answer at the moment. But then…there are those times of joy that come, just because…just because God cares. He cares about the things we love, because He first loved us.

Searching And Noticing the Divine can happen when we are doing what we enjoy, and when we are doing what we don’t enjoy. But in it all, let’s watch for what God is doing. I will be volunteering for Vacation Bible School next week because God put it on my heart to do so. It’s not what I would choose, and I wouldn’t choose shopping either. But if I hadn’t been shopping, I would not have found such joy. If I hadn’t said yes to VBS, I would miss whatever it is God has in store there. I will go into VBS searching for the Divine, as will about 500 children. I know there will be children who will find out how very good Jesus is during VBS. They will smile when they find their “warm pipe tobacco candle.” The big difference is Jesus is the true Light of the World—One that will never go out. Our Savior’s aroma is unmatched. Jesus Christ is the sweet smell of Victory.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 (NIV)