March 9, 2015

The sparrows, the lilies of the field and the parking spot.

Last weekend I was driving to meet a friend for coffee downtown. As I was nearing our meeting location, she sent me a message that she has arrived but that downtown was terribly crowded and parking was proving a nightmare to find.

I panicked a bit. Most of the parking on the streets of our downtown is parallel and I will admit right here and now that I don’t know how to parallel park. It’s not that I don’t like to do so. I don’t know how. I did it once to pass my driving test more than twenty years ago and have not done it since. I go to ridiculous lengths to avoid it, actually.

Lately, God and I have been having an ongoing argument, debate, screaming fight, conversation about trust. It has way too many layers to be dissected here but let’s just say that I have deep trust issues and that this can make a relationship that is, at its very core based on trust and faith, difficult. So we struggle on. Him telling me that He is trustworthy and me saying, “Yeah? Show me.”

The morning of the parking situation we were not at our best, God and me, so I sarcastically prayed (can you be sarcastic with God?): “Ok, God of the parking space, Lord of the parking lot, find me a spot.” I had always secretly sort of smirked at people who would give God public thanks for finding them a good spot to park. “God surely has better things to worry about than you not having to walk a few more steps, come on!” was my very Christ-like thought towards those people.

Not 1o seconds and a half a block later I saw a car pulling out of a parking spot which was at the end of the line (no parallel parking!), less than 20 feet from the coffee shop where I was to meet my friend, and there were even 40 minutes left in the meter. Score!

I’ll be honest. With a world full of hunger, wars, slavery, poverty, pain, and suffering to care for I have a hard time understanding why God would hear my sarcastic, inane, seemingly irrelevant prayer for a parking spot on a Saturday morning. But He did.

He remains a mystery to me in so many ways. But as I continued my dialogue with Him that day (this time much less sarcastically) a thought began to emerge clearly in my heart:

God cares.

And no, I don’t think that God will always help me find a good parking spot. This is not about a parking spot. It is about a God that finds ways to say: “I love you. I see you. I hear you” wherever we are, in whatever situation we find ourselves. Big or small.

I guess I can compare it to walking by my daughter on my way to the kitchen and stroking her cheek gently. It’s not much. It’s a simple gesture, really. But it is an easy way to let her know she is loved.

That morning, the parking spot was holy ground. I turned the car off and, before I got out, felt a stroke on my cheek: “You are loved.” I breathed a prayer of thankfulness to the God who cares about the sparrows, the lilies of the fields…and me