My daughter’s birthday is right around the corner, and as per usual, I texted her to ask for a list of gift suggestions. Little kids are happy with anything, but bigger kids have developed an individual sense of style. No sense spending money on something they neither like nor need.
She mentioned a pair of sneakers she fancied and proceeded to send me a picture of her feet, clad in said sneakers.
“Do u hate them?” she texted succinctly.
I grinned. On her twenty-year-old feet, they looked decidedly hipster and cool. On my middle-aged feet? They would be undoubtedly uncool, even dowdy.
“I like them!” I texted back, quite truthfully. I liked them on her, because she likes them, and because they will bring her joy.
So I drove to the store the next day, equal parts excited to check this purchase off the list and overwhelmed at making sure I found The. Exact. Pair. I entered Foot Locker, not my usual hangout, and quickly scanned the walls in hopes of isolating the women’s section, the Adidas display, and the white sneakers with a hint of red and black on the sole.
A kind young sales associate, who must have seen the glazed look in my eyes, approached and said, “Can I help you find something?”
I proceeded to explain that my daughter requested a specific pair of sneakers for her birthday and held up my phone to show him the picture. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle, at least to me.
“Oh yeah, she was here last night,” he casually stated. “Size 8.”
And with that, he disappeared into the recesses of the store to retrieve them, leaving me jaw dropped and dumbfounded. He quickly returned, and I followed him to the check out, where to my delight, the shoes were $10 cheaper than she had quoted.
“Yeah, she was looking at the display in the front of the store,” he said. “She probably never saw the sale sign.”
In less than five minutes, I exited the store with my purchase in hand, thrilled that till it was all said and done, it required less stress, less time, and less money than I had envisioned. When you get to be my age, that counts as a good day!
And then I thought about the verse in Matthew 6:8, where Jesus says, “ … for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” I thought about the sales associate and his attention to detail, down to the exact size of my daughter’s feet. And I realized that, while this verse sounds good to my ears, I’m not sure my heart has always believed it. Too often my prayers are those born of desperation, of thinking perhaps, just perhaps, God needs a reminder, needs me to clue Him in about what’s going on, just in case He got busy or confused or distracted.
“ … before you ask him … “
So the assumption is that I will, indeed, be asking, but that He will already know. The need, the details, the urgency, the timing. And if all that is true, then perhaps in the recesses of His divine provision, what I need is already supplied, like the back room of a shoe store, even things I haven’t yet realized I need … all lined up in neat little rows, awaiting my entreaty.
We use lofty words like “omniscient” to describe God without fully grasping how such a majestic attribute spills over and impacts our very ordinary lives. According to the dictionary, “omniscient” means “having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding.” And here I sit often, feeling alone, overwhelmed, and completely snowed in by my troubles. Ah, but God … knows all, understands all, supplies all. And my heart is filled with the reality of such precious truth.
When I was a child, my dad always told me that “God anticipates my prayers.” He was referring to Psalm 139:4, which says, “Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” I’ve rested in this knowledge time and time again over the years. When I forget to pray until after the fact or when it seemed too late in the game to make a request, relief washed over me to know that God knew. And any delay on my part did not cause even the smallest glitch on His side of the equation. Take comfort in the fact that God already knows your need, already anticipates your request, and already prepared the answer. God only knows, and at any age, that counts as a good day!