I am not much of a shopper. Surely this does not come as much of a surprise since I am a man, and most men are not shoppers by nature. So while I enjoy celebrating Christmas with family and friends, I do not enjoy the craziness this time of year brings to any store bearing the description of "retail".
Here in Costa Rica, I have not been able to escape this end-of-the-year phenomenon that causes me to be extremely fond of online shopping.
This past Saturday Keeley and I and some other friends of ours from the Language Institute traveled down town (by public bus) to the Avenida Central to do some Christmas shopping. This part of San Jose is an enjoyable place to visit. There is an approximately 10 block stretch of Central Avenue that has been converted to a walking mall, so you don't have to be distracted with being run over. (Pedestrians here have the right........the right to be run over). It was extra crowded with Christmas shoppers.
So we were picking up some gifts here and there, enjoying our time downtown, when we ran into some close friends of ours from our church. We stopped and talked for a little while and I introduced them to the other students that were with us. While we were talking, my Tico friend (who has a lot of street smarts) interrupts and says, "There are three guys standing behind you all that are waiting to rob you, I recognize one of them". He then tells us to all turn around and stare at them.
All eleven of us proceed to turn around and stare at these three men who were suspiciously standing behind us. They weren't going around us, and they weren't looking at a store, they were waiting for an opportunity. Needless to say, they were the ones that looked uncomfortable when we demonstrated clearly that we knew they were there and we knew what their intentions were. After staring at them for a long time (I'm sure it was every bit of 30 seconds...), my friend instructed us to keep walking down the avenue while he waited there to make sure they would not follow us.
Down the avenue we went, stopping to look behind us every so often. No one followed us, and we concluded our visit to downtown without incident.
Yesterday at church I was able to find out the rest of the story from my friend. He said that after we started walking again, the three men began to walk after us. He stood in their way and told them they would have to deal with him first. At that point they quickly left in another direction.
While reading this morning in the book of Ezra, I came upon this verse that reminded me clearly of how God's hand was upon us.
Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go unto Jerusalem: and the hand of our God was upon us, and he delivered us from the hand of the enemy, and of such as lay in wait by the way.
Was it coincidence that we ran into our friends downtown at just that moment of time? Definitely it was not coincidence. It was the hand of our God upon us.
Could God have allowed us to have been robbed and then used that event in our life to draw us closer to Him? Yes, that could have happened too. But I was reminded of how closely God interacts with every detail of our life, big and small. What an awesome God we serve.
The hand of God is upon His children, most of the time we are not intentional enough about seeing it. How do you see the hand of God upon you?