God speaks at Georgia grocery stores. That’s my experience, anyway. God is always present and working, whether we notice or not, and holiness is everywhere, seen or unseen. “Here comes Grace!”
I heard a message before I saw the messenger back in 2017. I was standing in front of that familiar island of cheeses found in so many supermarkets, alone and feeling far more fragile than I looked. Concussions or other traumas to the brain are invisible injuries, and I was at the beginning of a long healing process.
“Ma’am, Jesus loves you and wants you to be happy.”
I didn’t turn around at first; I just said thank you and “That’s a lovely thing to say.” I used a neutral tone, even though the message mattered, because I expected the speaker to be on a mission unwelcome to me. I’m not a fan of the invasive religious recruiting that occurs in the Bible Belt (or anywhere else), though I participated during my youth.
But I was mistaken. A cautious, peripheral glance showed me a man stepping up to the nearby meat counter, smiling at a grocery employee and as focused on cold cuts as I was on dairy.
I cried after I got home. Something about that moment felt so well-timed and sincere, and, strangely enough, the man’s beard did make him look like an artist’s rendering of the One he was quoting.
Several weeks ago, I wondered out loud if the man behind the seafood counter was from Louisiana, based on the cadence of his voice. No, he told me, but he is also a longtime minister.
No one else was in line, and I enjoyed the testimony he volunteered about his recovery from a long illness and his call to preach. Then he said, “And, I have something to speak over you.” (Let me explain: Down here, that means the Holy Spirit has something to say through somebody else. I listen up, and then I check whatever’s said against my own heart for validity. We all know God gets misquoted more than any public figure.)
“God wants me to tell you what He told Paul,” he said.
“‘My Grace is sufficient for you.’ God’s Grace is sufficient.”
As I stepped away, fish in hand, he pivoted into a quick theory about how the prophecies of Revelation are somehow tied to credit cards. THAT message was not mine. But the first one was.
I recognized 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'” In fuller context, Paul had asked God multiple times to remove a “thorn in the flesh,” perhaps a physical illness, but it’s undefined. That was God’s response.
I grew up attending a small Sunday School at my church, where they taught the kids songs like, “Jehovah-Jireh, My Provider, His Grace is sufficient for me, for me, for me.” (Repeat. And repeat. And repeat…) His words brought that beloved little tune back to my mind. Jehovah-Jireh is the name Abraham gave the site where he offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God, before God showed him a lamb. God had provided the sacrifice, and Jireh means “provider” in Hebrew.
Jireh is word that, like Grace, is deeply meaningful to me, whether the source is a song remembered or the tag on someone’s car. (I’ve seen that, too, in recent months. Twice.) My Source is not a job or a business or clients, but God. Sufficient Grace leads me through difficulties or helps me find rest within my struggles. Always.
Ask for cod; hear from God. It’s just another day at a Georgia supermarket, and I am grateful.