It was just a bag of tomatoes. The sweet, tow-headed neighbor boy knocked on our door and offered it without much explanation to us before skipping away. As he pulled his toy wagon back down our driveway, I swallowed a lump in my throat. He didn’t know and his parents didn’t know how much their simple act of generosity meant.
Our small family had recently grown with the addition of a new baby. I stayed home to take care of her while my husband worked long hours to make ends meet. I did what I could to contribute by working part-time from home and looking for creative ways to make each dollar stretch as far as I could. The weekly grocery list was cut down to the essentials. Items we took for granted before were now luxuries we couldn’t afford. The dull ache of worry seeped into my daily thoughts and I didn’t know how we could make everything work.
I would frequently pray distracted prayers to God about our situation but I never really expected an answer. I didn’t think manna would rain from the sky or an unexpected check would magically appear in the mailbox. I just thought we had to try harder, do more, and expect less. There were so many others with far greater needs than our own so it felt selfish to even ask God for help sometimes.
I had struggled with this thought before when I faced difficulties. I come from a culture of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” so I felt the need to forge ahead depending on my husband's and my own determination. I forgot too easily how God had intervened by answering prayers in unexpected ways.
When I held those tomatoes, however, something clicked for me. I felt impressed that this seemingly small gesture wasn’t an accident. God was trying to get my attention. If I would only trust in Him, He was ready and willing to shower me with blessings big and small. Tomatoes might seem ordinary but to me I knew they meant God had heard and cared.
Could a bag of tomatoes solve our financial worries? No, but it was a small but significant step in teaching me that God can be trusted with all of our problems and worries. I will try to keep my eyes open from now on to look for answered prayers—even if they are in unexpected places like a humble tomato.
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