Grocery Store Guidance
Written July 29, 2022 & August 3, 2022
God provides in the strangest ways; and, over time, I’ve learned to listen when He clues me into details and answers before I even have a problem. Let me explain.
Walking through the produce section of our local grocery store early this week, I noticed long thick aloe leaves arranged neatly in a box in the middle of the aisle. Mind you, I haven’t needed or used fresh aloe in more than 10 years, so I’m not sure why this display stood out to me, but it did make quite an impression—so much so, that I stopped and wondered, Why does the store even have fresh aloe? I’ve never seen it here before. I felt a smile creep across my face as I heard my thoughts reply. You live in Florida, Silly. I’m sure many sunburned people are very thankful the store is carrying it. I nodded at the probability. Still, I didn’t understand what this had to do with me or why my attention had been drawn to the product. Imagining the sun outside beating down on my skin, I contemplated purchasing a leaf. With a hopeful smirk, I pushed my buggy forward and decided against it, offering up a quick prayer, instead. God, please help me not to need any aloe in the foreseeable future, but if I do, please remind me it’s here. I finished my shopping and went home.
A few days later, I stood in our kitchen boiling a pot of baby potatoes. Several minutes had passed, and I decided I needed to check the softness of the veggies. Dipping a ladle underneath one of the circular spuds, I carefully went to lift it above the water. In doing so, however, the ladle snagged one of the potatoes underneath the one I was lifting and flung scalding hot water down the right side of my stomach. In one swift motion, I instinctively dropped the ladle, jumped backward away from the stove, and yanked my shirt off my skin; but, it was too late. Big red splotches and large blisters surfaced immediately. Screaming for help, I hurried to the sink and started splashing cold water on my exposed belly, causing a puddle to form at my feet. Other than cooling the burn with water, my startled brain couldn’t remember what to do next. That’s when the thought broke through my fog. You’re going to need aloe. Aloe? Any other day, week, or month, I wouldn’t have had a clue where to find fresh aloe, but—you guessed it—since I had recently been to the store and seen the display, I knew exactly where to send my husband to purchase some.
Later, my research would clue me into why God had reminded me to use aloe. Per New York-based dermatologist, Michele Green, M.D., quoted by Krissy Brady on March 8, 2022, at www.eatingwell.com, “[Aloe] has antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that boost healing.” It also “soothes sunburns and skin injuries by increasing collagen synthesis and cross-linking. This helps reduce any resulting scar tissue and speeds up wound healing.” Plus, “it contains compounds called aloin and anthraquinones which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that can help alleviate pain and promote healing.” Wow! Proof that the God who made me knows how to heal me. What a comforting thought!
Before I finish this article, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I do not believe God caused my injury. Life happens. Actions have consequences. Sin pretty much guarantees we’ll experience bumps and bruises and heartaches while on this planet. But, despite all that, God loves His children—including me—and He provides for us in ways that align with His love when our messy, complicated, imperfect lives throw us into a world of hurt.
The Bible says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT Isn’t that beautiful? God doesn’t cause our pain, but He uses it to help others.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT When the pains of this life feel overwhelming and too much to bear, remember this: God wins! It won’t be like this forever, My Friend, so hang in there. His coming is just around the corner!