I keep a “CCA Box” in our front room all the time. It is a box that we put all the things that we want to donate in. I used to call it a “Garage Sale Box,” but I have started to deal with the reality of I really don’t like garage sales. Anyway, CCA is our local Christian Community Action that has a resell store and helps people down on their luck. I always have a box going.
Last Saturday my oldest son’s new girlfriend was coming over to the house, so of course we had to clean the house, and we put the CCA box in my car to get it out of the way. It was full and it was time to take it anyway. I had full intentions of taking it that day, but between all the details of the day, like cleaning, laundry and grocery store, there was just no time.
As the next few days passed, I intended to take it every day, but something always came up. Finally, on Wednesday evening, Michael went with me and we made it a point to take that box. This was Spring Break week and we had already hauled it to Six Flags with extra people in the car, and there was no telling what else we would do the rest of the week, so we seized the moment.
We pulled in and there were signs posted that it was illegal to pilfer through boxes that were left to be donated. There were also signs that video cameras were on. And as I put my car in park, I noticed a man on the sidewalk lying down. He had his jacket under him and his head was propped up on his arm. It was a beautiful evening weather wise, so at least there was that.
I got out of my car and tried to go over in my head what I had. I asked the man what size shoe he wore. He said, “an 11.” I told him I had a 9 ½. He smiled. As I opened the back hatch I saw a huge FAO Schwarz Lion that my sister had given me after a trip to New York 12 or 15 years ago. I thought that would be a good pillow for this guy. I offered it to him and he was happy to take it.
I went back to my car and started to pull out the box. I thought to myself, “ok girl, if there is anything in here that he could use, you have to remember it now. This guy could go to jail if he tries to go through the box, but if you give it to him now it is ok.” In the box was a dog bed folded in half. It was basically an extra wide body pillow covered in a heavy fleece that zipped up. It had been in my mom’s garage and never been used. I took it back to the man and he was very appreciative.
The rest of the stuff was kid’s shoes and costume jewelry and just junk that he would not want or need. I put the box behind the wall for donations and got back in the car. My son, who I had forgotten was with me, said, “You’re a good woman, mom.” I said, “I just had some things he could use.” As we pulled away we held hands and prayed for that man lying on the dog bed on the curb.
Driving home, it occurred to me, and I told Michael, “Isn’t it amazing how God is in the details of every last thing?” He asked, “What do you mean?” I said, “if we would have brought that box on Saturday, or Sunday, or any other day but today, or even a few hours earlier today, we probably would not have been here at the same time that man was.”
Now, I don’t know that man from Adam. I feel very certain that we will never see each other again. And if we do, we won’t know that it is us. He has his own troubles, as do I, but at that moment, God showed me a man on the sidewalk that needed rest, and He used me to offer him comfort for that rest. I was reminded of one of my very favorite verses, Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
To think about how small of a gesture this was, it makes me know that God is in the details of all our lives. Every last detail he has already prepared for our lives – mine, yours, even the guy down on his luck on the sidewalk. It leaves me in awe of God’s goodness to us. He always gives us what we need, at the exact moment that we need it. His timing and his plan are so much greater than our own.
When has God revealed to you that He is in the details of your life?