First Mardi Gras

I tossed cereal and milk on the table for my grade school sons to eat while I gathered up a change of clothes and snacks for the pre-schooler and found my pocketbook. My daughter and I were heading out for a morning of garage sale shopping.
One of the boys came out wearing one of his two remaining pairs of jeans that still fit him, that did not have holes in the knees. “Mom I need some more jeans.”
He did. It was not the era when it was fashionable to go to school with ragged, torn jeans, especially not in grade school It was, however, our financially tight spell of the year.
“I am going to pray that I find some jeans for you at the garage sale today,” I told him.
He looked at me skeptically. I was not in the habit of telling him what I talked over with God.
“I am. God provides in a lot of different ways.” The child looked at me skeptically. “Never hurts to ask,” I said and left wondering if I had been too bold in telling him that.
Within a mile I stumbled across a small unadvertised garage sale. Usually I drive by yard sales set up hastily on chairs and boards, but this time I stopped. The first thing I saw was a pile of little boy’s jeans. I picked up the top pair to examine them. The size was right, in fact all six pairs were the right size. They were rugged little boy jeans with reinforcement material behind each knee, marked at less than a dollar a pair.
As I studied the seams for wear, the seller commented, “My mother bought them for my son a year ago. A month later he had a growth spurt and could not wear anything he had. I tried selling them last spring, but no one was interested.”
I stacked all of the jeans on my arm. I knew one little boy who would fit all six pairs for the price of less than one pair at the store.
It took my skeptical, active son several months to wear them out.
The memory of his skepticism bemuses me these days when I receive his e-mail. He knows God listens to the simplest of prayers. This fall he was asked to serve part-time as an associate pastor while he continues his graduate studies. After a few months of trying to pedal his 10-speed bike everywhere he grudgingly admitted he needed to go. He didn’t say anything to us He prayed about it.
At Christmas time, he announced that he had the use of another student’s car for six months while he studied abroad. All he does is make the monthly insurance payment and maintain the car.
His prayers go beyond his own needs. Every week he emails me a praise and prayer list from around the world. I pray as I read it through. He joyfully records answered prayers awed at seeing God work around the world. Many of the answers are as easy to measure as jeans at a garage sale. When the results are more elusive he prays on, because he has learned even when nothing seems to be happening, God is still listening and will honor those prayers in His time.