Sunday, January 13, 2008

Angels Shop at Wal-Mart

I am convinced that even though Wal-Mart may have certain Babylonian tendencies, God enjoys using it as a teaching place for me. On many occasions I have been struck with some thought or experience of God during my shopping excursions to Wal-Mart. I’d like to share a few of these with you.

When I was pregnant with Evangeline I mostly got my “morning” sickness in the evenings. So there I was, doing our grocery shopping and feeling like I was going to either pass out or throw up- whichever came first- in the cereal aisle and I was trying to find a cereal that I could stomach. I usually live on cereal when I’m pregnant so this was an important food to me at the time. I felt daunted by the varieties of cereals (and let’s not forget the feeling of impending puking) so I desperately prayed, “God, show me which cereal to get!” Immediately, my eyes fell on a green box of Chex cereal. I grabbed it, thanked God, and continued with my shopping. I knew in that moment that God is intimately concerned with even the most seemingly mundane details of my life. He knew how miserable I felt and how overwhelmed I was by the simple chore of picking out a cereal so He divinely picked out a cereal for me and in that way, He showed me that He loves me.

Usually when I shop at Wal-Mart, I feel tense because I’m trying to not spend too much money while still getting good things for my family. I’m constantly feeling tempted by all the racks of clothing I shouldn’t buy, the special foods that don’t fit in our budget, the cute toys I know the kids would enjoy, etc. I feel the temptations of the world bombarding me as I shop at Wal-Mart. And even if the temptations aren’t obvious to me at the time, I know they are always there. Until I step into the parking lot, that is. Wal-Mart’s parking lot is big enough to build an entire neighborhood on and the sky over it is as big as Montana. As soon as I step out of the store the beauty and breadth of the sky takes my breath away and I am reminded that life is not shopping and buying and attaining things, but rather it is glorifying the Creator of so awesome a sight. I can feel the glory of God as His artwork hangs over the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Since I recognize the many temptations that face me at Wal-Mart, I try to pray each time that I prepare to go to that store. One evening, as I was walking from my van to the store I was praying when I felt a sudden jolt in my spirit. I felt like my eyes were opened and as I looked at the other people about to enter the store with me, I realized that I was different from them. I realized that I am not just another shopper at Wal-Mart. I am a child of Yahweh. I felt like I should be glowing for all the glory that lives inside me. I looked at the other shoppers and I wanted them to have this glory, too.

Now, maybe these stories seem a little odd to you. Maybe you think I’m seeing too much into things and making a big deal out of nothing. I suppose that’s possible except for this- I know my God the way I do because of what He shows me when I shop at Wal-Mart. Of course, He speaks more fully in the preaching of the Word and in Bible reading. If this was the only place I ever listened to God then I’d have some serious problems, indeed! But for some reason God chose Wal-Mart, of all places, to show me how real He is and to impress certain truths on my heart. Now when I’m having a frustrating time trying to get dinner on the table or some such thing I remember that God helped me pick out some breakfast cereal so surely He cares about each and every detail and He can even help me get dinner on the table.

How does all this work? Is it Jesus who walks with me as I push my cart? Or does He send an angel or two with me every time I go to Wal-Mart? I don’t know how this works, but I don’t need to know. All I need is to know and understand that the God I serve is so big that He can reveal Himself to His people using the most unlikely tools. He can even use Wal-Mart.

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