Sergio and I were on our way to the mountains to camp for an extended weekend. It would be a much-needed break from the constant work and politics at the university. Once outside of the city, Sergio stopped to pump air into the tires while I ran into the convenience store to buy beverages for the trip. On the way into the store, I was thinking that I would really like a granola bar, in case I became a little hypoglycemic. Chocolate would have just end up as a gooey mess in the summer heat. I wasn’t thinking of just any granola bar, but a Hidden Valley Oats ‘n Honey, which are usually hard to find in Chile. Some of the convenience stores might carry Quaker Oats, but usually sell a brand that should have sugar listed as the first ingredient.
After securing the beverages, I began to scan the long, u-shaped counter that displayed candies, cookies and bars. Walking bent over to peruse the bottom shelf, all that were to be seen were the sugary brand. Nevertheless, I continued to walk all the way around, only to confirm that indeed it was just more of the same. However, as I stood up, right before my eyes was a single, solitary Hidden Valley Oats ‘n Honey two-bar package sitting on top of a box of chocolates. I couldn’t believe it! The object of my desire was sitting right there in plain sight. At first, I hesitated, thinking, “is this some kind of trick?” There had been nary a Hidden Valley display, but there at the end of my search, just when I had resolved to doing without, was just the very thing being sought. In wonderment, I picked up the package, and walked all around the store, looking to see if somehow I had missed the display. When my search proved futile, I stopped and asked an employee, who also looked all around the store. Again, no other was found.
Back in the car, I told Sergio what had happened, and said that somehow this was going to be a special trip. It wasn’t until I was snuggled into our sleeping bag that it occurred to me that sometime God shouts His immense love for us through the smallest and simplest of things.
Jesus reminds us that God is a loving father, and that He would not give us stones when we needed bread. However, we are so preoccupied with looking to God to transform massive things and events in our lives that we might overlook the precious, simplest expressions of His provisions. I couldn’t overlook the improbability of finding a Hidden Valley Oats ‘n Honey bar when there wasn’t even a display, but I could rejoice in the wonderment of God providing the seemingly impossible. I didn’t ask God for the bar, but He knew what was in my heart, and provided this child what she needed. I give God praise every day for teaching me to look for the sweet, simple and unexpected moments of His love. It was indeed a very special trip.