I have an odd habit of picking up random pieces of paper when I go on walks. I happen to believe that God speaks through all things and sometimes the Word of the Lord might be made known through a random scrap of newspaper or discarded receipt. Mostly, I just contribute to cleaning up the neighborhood a bit, but every now and then I feel as if the Spirit gives me a gift through that roadside garbage. On one walk on the busy, country road we lived on in Charlottesville, I discovered in the wildflowers that lined the highway a gem. It was a grocery list that read:
Guinea Pig Food
And on the upper right-hand corner: Lottery ticket.
Then I noticed at the bottom of the 4 by 6 inch piece of paper a Bible verse was printed, Psalm 63:8, “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”
Something about the juxtaposition of that Bible verse and the note to buy a lottery ticket brought me great joy in that moment. I laughed out loud at the combination. It happened to have been July 20, 2020, when I put that slip of paper in my pocket, that time when toilet paper might have been hard to come by, the lockdown still solidly in place and, for someone, hope in the Lord in need of being bolstered by the possibility of winning it big in the lottery.
That side-of-the-road-scrap reminded me that God’s grace is evident everywhere, if our belief in Jesus’ promised presence becomes the lens through which we see the world. Surely the Spirit accompanied my unknown neighbor to the store and back, even if they didn’t strike it rich. Certainly, the goodness of the Lord is evident in guinea pigs and candy, a tomato sandwich and greasy potato chips. The Bible verse called forth my recognition of our God who abides with us always and in the heat of the summer in the midst of a pandemic, I needed to know that truth.
In this season when we are navigating yet another transition in our COVID reality, figuring out what is mostly safe, or safe enough, or still to be avoided, I am going to try and remember that no matter where we are or what is happening in the world or in our lives, God still speaks, Jesus is with us ,and the Spirit will give us a reassuring word just when we need it most, sometimes from unexpected sources.