Once upon a time, there was a little boy engineer that wore glasses. He was a pretty smart little boy, able to figure out how things worked, was good at solving puzzles, and really liked to draw – but he had a problem with trust. One Friday afternoon, the little boy engineer asked his mommy whether she could make her super-amazing-scrumptious potpie for Sabbath dinner that night. She said she could … but only if daddy bought some vegetables from the store on his way home from work.
Since the little boy engineer absolutely loved his mommy’s super-amazing-scrumptious potpie, he thought and thought about what was the best way to talk to his daddy. He knew his daddy really liked mommy’s super-amazing-scrumptious potpie too, but that daddy sometimes forgot to go to the store on Fridays. So the little boy engineer wrote down his plan to make sure that daddy went to the store.
The plan was pretty detailed and the little boy engineer thought he had it all figured out. The little boy engineer had learned how to call his daddy on the telephone by pressing the numbers written on the little list next to the house phone. Also, he learned how to text his daddy with mommy’s mobile phone. So the little boy engineer started by calling his daddy, and asking him whether he could pick up vegetables on his way home from work. His daddy said he would.
But the little boy engineer did not stop with just a call, because he had not learned trust. Using his mom’s mobile phone, he texting his daddy a little message that said, ‘gET VEgeTables ;)’. On the driveway, just in case his daddy made it all the way home and still forgot to go to the store, he drew a picture of a giant carrot with his orange and green chalk that said “Got Vegetables?”. On the front door, just in case his daddy didn’t notice the giant chalk carrot, the little boy engineer taped several pieces of scrap paper that were blank on one side and drew a giant green-bean with his colored pencils. The little boy engineer crossed off his list of things to do. Now he just had to wait for his daddy and the vegetables from the store.
In the mean time, the sky started to get much darker outside. The wind started to blow really hard and the little boy engineer noticed that it started to rain really hard. And just when his tummy started to rumble for his mommy’s super-awesome-scrumptious potpie, he heard his daddy come through the front door.
“Thanks for getting the vegetables daddy!” the little boy engineer yelled from his room. When he ran in to hug his daddy, he noticed that his daddy was all wet and looked frustrated. “Sorry, but I totally forgot to go by the store,” his daddy said. “I had an absolutely terrible ride home with the storm – it is getting dangerous outside. I almost missed our driveway because of all the leaves from the trees covering the ground. The wind caught my umbrella and whisked it up into a tree with some papers. I barely made it inside the house.”
The little boy engineer sat down on the couch, realizing that all the things he did to try to help his daddy remember to go to the store did not work. But then he remembered about one other thing, “What about the text message I sent?” he asked his daddy. His daddy responded, “Oh, that reminds me, I left my mobile phone here at the house all day. Did you send a text message to me?”
The little boy engineer looked down at the floor and started to cry. He thought he had the perfect plan to make sure that his daddy would not forget to go to the store and get vegetables for mommy’s super-amazing-scrumptious potpie … but now with the storm getting worse, there was no going out to the store. His daddy hugged the little boy engineer with a big bear hug and said in a soft whisper, “I am sorry that I forgot. But maybe we can pray to God together that He can provide some other super-amazing-scrumptious Sabbath dinner.” The little boy engineer, still with eyes full of tears looked up at his daddy and said, “I am not sure what that could be, but, if you think it will help …”. His daddy looked down at him and said, “I know it will. I trust God.”
As the two of them both knelt there, in the living room, with their eyes closed, they prayed that God would help calm the storm, that they were thankful for his daddy’s safe return home, that they were glad to have the Sabbath, and that somehow, in some way, God would be able to make sure there was a super-amazing-scrumptious dinner that night, whatever that might be.
When they both opened their eyes, and after the little boy engineer took off his glasses and wiped his face with his shirt sleeve, he started to get up. But as he stood up, his foot caught on something that was under the couch. As he pulled on this something, he saw that it was a plastic bag. “Where did this bag of cans come from?” he asked. His daddy looked puzzle and asked mommy. “Oh, that is where they are,” she said, “I lost those after I went to the store the other day. They must have rolled under the couch when I was bringing in all the groceries. Well that solves our vegetable problem – that was why I told you to call your daddy.”
The little boy engineer looked at his daddy with a big smile – his daddy smiled back. It was super-awesome-scrumptious potpie for Sabbath dinner after all!
How each of us decide to ‘engineer our future’ is an interesting balance of proper planning and allowing God to work in us. If we think it is all up to us to figure out how to go from Point A to Point B, then there is no room for God. If we think it is all up to God, then we never took responsibility for our part. But if we can find where we end, and God begins, our life will be much happier – and fuller because God knows better what we need then we ourselves do. But we have to trust.
Also as a side note, was our make-believe story an answer to prayer or just a coincidence? For that matter, as a friend of mine asked years ago, when does coincidence stop being coincidence?