The Hands of God
A trend that I see on social media these days is regularly captioned “Faith Restored in Humanity”. It’s usually accompanied by photos or videos of people who either go to great lengths to save an animal for a stranger or something as simple as going above and beyond to show a kindness or to pay it forward. The bravery or kindness is almost guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes and let you walk away feeling a little better, if only for a brief time, about the humanity that’s still lingering in people around the globe.
While I have recently been reminded of this goodness and kindness, my story begins with what feels like a little trickery.
Have you ever been hoodwinked into “volunteering”? “It’ll be so easy,” they tell you. “It won’t take much of your time.” Well, in order to justify the fact that I get into these situations, I tell myself I must be a trusting soul. The reason I tell myself this is that the only other alternative is that I’m amazingly stupid with a good dose of gullibility tossed in.
I was asked to set up a program at church. Four teams with four members each. The purpose of this program and its 16 members was so that when a church family is going through a tough time, a hospitalization, long illness, or death in the family, one of the teams can cook a meal to remind the family that the church cares. And it’s not an empty gesture either. St. Francis is a true family that genuinely cares about each other.
So here’s where I felt like I’d been tricked. When I was initially asked to set this up, it was explained to me that by having 16 team members, each person would probably only be called on to cook twice a year, if that. Again, it wouldn’t take much time or effort to either organize it or do the cooking.
So that’s the sales pitch I presented as I asked people to sign up. St. Francis is full of amazing cooks, and I made a list of every cook I knew of. I remembered who brought the best dishes to potluck dinners, snacks and dinner to VBS volunteers, and those who entered and/or won the annual Chili Cook Off and its accompanying Dessert Bake Off.
I had a long list numbering a great deal more than 16. I figured I would need it so that when people said NO, I could continue down the list. The amazing thing is that not a single person said no. The first 16 I approached agreed to it immediately.
I was very pleased, but not surprised to be honest. This church is filled with fabulously generous people. And besides it was only 2 meals a year.
Here’s where real life and the plans parted ways. Covid could be a factor but maybe not. There may not be any rhyme or reason to it, but lately the people of our congregation have lost family members. It’s been loss after loss. In addition there have been an extraordinary number of serious illnesses resulting in surgeries, and hospitalizations followed by rehabilitation stints.
Needless to say, these wonderful volunteers have already stepped up and prepared more meals so far than they were supposed to cook in about 3 years’ time. And here's where it makes you rethink humanity. When I contact them, they don’t roll their eyes and agree reluctantly because they signed a contract or are obligated. They jump in and volunteer not only to make the food, but to deliver it, to send flowers, and many other acts of kindness. They go above and beyond, and all the while love and care is radiating from them.
I said in an earlier blog post that in situations like this where people are trying to show they care, you can see God in a casserole. To be sure, you can also see Him in the hands that prepare it.