Blessings Unexpected

 
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Some hours had passed since I climbed from my bed in my remote tropical island home to begin the day’s activities in the Bible school. Everything was normal, but something gnawed within me. Attempting to understand my disquiet, I realised I was experiencing a craving for tomatoes.

Astonished at the desire’s intensity, I reviewed the six months I’d lived on the island. It was my custom to live in a similar fashion to those with whom I dwelt. I was there to serve, avoiding imposing my lifestyle on the national populace. So since arriving, I’d happily consumed the island’s staple diet—a handful of leaves from the nearest tree, a few sweet potatoes and a piece of smoked fish. Quite reasonable enough, except that this menu was identical for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week! Hmmm … tomatoes! How impossible! Tomatoes just don’t grow on tropical islands! There’s absolutely no way to quench this consuming desire.

I decided on my course of action.
I knelt beside my bed and prayed.
“Father, everyone says that we should tell You everything we feel. I know that nothing can be done about how I feel, but I just wanted to tell You. I want tomatoes! Thank You, Lord. Amen.” Satisfied in having unloaded my heart to the Lord in prayer, I again immersed myself in work.

Some time passed then came a rap at the door. I opened it and to my surprise, standing there was one of the Christian women from the village church. What is she doing here? I wondered.
Smiles were exchanged. Conversation was impossible as I couldn’t speak or understand her dialect, nor could she speak English. But words weren’t needed.

With a huge smile and sparkling eyes she handed me a bulging plastic bag, and then made a hasty retreat.
Closing the door, I peered into the bag with great curiosity. Tomatoes! Big, red, juicy tomatoes! My all-but-forgotten prayer came tumbling back. Stunned, speechless and trembling with awe, I took the bag, my mouth instantly watering. When the moment came, I ate my bright red trophies with delight.

How had God wrought the impossible? The tomatoes’ arrival were, without doubt, a miracle provision. I longed to know how it had come about.

Later that evening in a discussion with close friends, the incredulous sequence of events unfolded. I discovered that tomatoes did grow on the island, but only on the island’s single mountain peak, where a small village was situated.

However, the tomatoes that grow there are never eaten by humans; instead, they’re fed to pigs! Instantly I saw the dilemma faced by the dear native woman when the Holy Spirit had told her, “Take a bag full of tomatoes and give them to Karen, the Australian missionary living in the main town on the coast.” What must have gone through her mind? But Lord, tomatoes are animal food.

Don’t she be offended if I give her tomatoes? Besides that, we can’t communicate with each other. How will I explain to her what You are asking me to do? Finally in obedience to God’s prompting, she gathered the tomatoes and travelled the dusty, bumpy road to deliver the “pig food” to the missionary.

Laughing in remembrance of that spectacular moment, I saw why the gentle woman had made a hasty retreat! Will she ever know that God wrought a miracle through her?

This experience happened many years ago, but it still holds a special place in my heart. Its message is a profound example of our God’s loving attention toward His children.

Whether living on a remote island, in a cave deep in Africa, or even if our bed is made in hell itself (see Psalm 139:8), God hears our cry. Even when there’s no way, He’s able to make one.
He does this with great delight, heaven moving earth to answer prayers whispered to Him.