While we were back in the States, Amanda and I decided to keep a running list of the small and large ways we saw God providing for us. We called it our Providence List, and looking back on it now, we’re taken aback. The more skeptical among us might look at our list and call it The Coincidence List, The Good Luck – or perhaps, You Just Know Good People – List. But we believe it’s more than that. We see it as real evidence that God intervened in all sorts of ways throughout our furlough – often without our asking.
Many of the entries are gifts – cars we needed just at the right time, surprise meals delivered after long days, gift cards when our bank account was nearly empty. Others are events – the safe birth of Colby, holidays with family, even well-timed sicknesses that would have been dramatically worse a week earlier or later.
And then there are the ones we least expected: Being back during the small window of my brother’s transition between jobs, Meeting an old friend on the road with children the same age as ours, An eye-opening weekend retreat at a local convent, Natural conversations about faith with friends who have stopped believing.
In reflecting on all of this, it makes me wonder how many months and years we’ve missed these sorts of simple providences simply by not paying much attention. Not that paying attention is necessary to experience them – God, it seems, is in the business of giving grace upon grace even when we aren’t looking for it.