Tag Archive | Ruth Ann Adams Blog

Unexpected Favour


When our children were young, my  husband and I, along with helpers from the congregation, often ran Vacation Bible Schools for the first four days of the March Break. These were fun and lively affairs. I got out my guitar and led the children in plenty of action songs. My husband did most of the teaching and taught the children how to make papier mache puppets. He also wrote skits and recorded the children’s voices as they read their parts. Parents and other guests formed an audience for the children’s plays during the final day.

On the Fridays, we took our children for a family outing. Often we drove into Ottawa and visited the National Museum of Science and Technology. The children loved the Crazy Kitchen and other entertaining sights and activities.

Then we would go out for supper, which was always a  treat. One year, we went to Swiss Chalet. At the time we had four children, the youngest  still a baby in a high chair. When we were shown to our seats, a man with his wife and small daughter were sitting across from us. There was something very special about this family. The man immediately made sure we had sufficient room to put our coats. Later, when baby Hannah began to fuss, he showed concern and asked if there was any way he could help. The family finished their meal and we continued with ours. A little later the waitress came over to us, since we were ready to pay our bill.  However, she said:  “There is no charge. The man sitting across from you paid your bill. He said that he and his wife were very busy with just one child and you looked extremely busy with four. He wanted to do this for you.”

We were astonished by this man’s generosity. A complete stranger, whom we had never met before, blessed us with totally unexpected favour. We didn’t know his name and were never able to thank him but I believe that simply passing on  this gift of kindness was all the thanks he wanted.

At Easter, we celebrate another man who extended completely unmerited grace. Jesus, the Son of God, died for the sins of mankind. He paid the price of our sins on the cross, so that by merely acknowledging his name and accepting his grace, we could become his children and be guaranteed a heavenly home when we die. This was not a gift that we earned in any way. As Romans 10:13 explains it: “…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (NIV). Our only responsibility is to respond to God’s gift of love.

The generosity of the man in the Swiss Chalet  years ago was a reminder to our family of how gracious God is. He gives us his gifts in many ways,  through people, circumstances, nature,  the blessings of each day and eventually of eternity. It is all ours for the taking, if we choose to put our faith in Christ.

God bless you this Easter!










For my husband, on Father’s Day

In the 1980s, when we lived in the picturesque village of Kisbey, Saskatchewan, my husband ordered a small, six-inch lemon tree from a mail order catalogue. He was no doubt inspired by a lady in a nearby town, who successfully grew a lemon bearing tree. While our tree has yet to produce lemons, it has something unique to share.

As my clergy husband accepted calls to  pastoral charges across Canada, the tree learned that a ride in the back seat of our van signaled a major change. Over the years, the tree experienced all the cheerful chaos of living with toddlers, pets and changing scenery.  During one cold winter, the furnace in an otherwise cozy house broke down, and the little tree froze. However, it was brave and resilient and soon flourished as before.

Finally, after an especially long and noisy drive, the tree found itself in the province of Nova Scotia. At first, life was pretty much as usual. The youngest child entered first grade and the tree enjoyed the lull of quiet daytime hours. However, the tree began to sense that things weren’t quite as they should be. The family moved again, this time into a huge building, such as the tree had never seen before.

lemon treeIts new place was in front of the window in the living room.Perhaps there was not quite enough sun, or perhaps the tree sensed its humans were working hard to keep their own leaves from wilting. Whatever the reason, one January the little tree failed to thrive. Its leaves turned brown and fell off. No new leaves took their place. All that was left was a woody and bare stalk.

It was time to face reality. The tree had enjoyed a long and eventful life, but the end had come. My husband would have none of it. He would not part with his tree. Finally, after months of looking at the tree’s pathetic little stalk, I came up with a plan. Father’s  Day was approaching. If my husband wouldn’t give up his tree voluntarily, we would gently unfasten his grip. My thought was that we would buy a new lemon tree, remove the old one, and surprise my husband with a brand new tree on Father’s Day.

I called a gardening shop but it had no lemon trees in stock. Then, the miraculous occurred: I looked at the woody stalk and saw a tiny bit of green. It was so small, I could have imagined it. “Look at this!” I said to my husband. “Do you think the tree is going to grow again?” We waited. More green appeared.The tree developed leaves. Once more, it flourished.

My husband received a remarkable Father’s Day gift, but not in the way I had expected. He told me later that he had been praying for the tree every day. His prayers were answered. Given my plans, perhaps the tree sensed it was time to thrive!

This is the Father heart of God, to take a situation, a person or a difficulty, that looks beyond repair, and breathe into it new life. A small step, a little change, a tiny bit of green on a dead looking stalk may be the sign of much good ahead: blessings, fresh opportunities, healing and restoration. God tells us not to give up, because his blessings are fresh every day (Lamentations 3: 23).

Not very long after the tree recovered, it found itself in the back of a vehicle once more. Its humans  found a home they are happy in. God has touched their lives in innumerable ways and the tree is healthy and growing tall.

Have a Happy and Blessed Father’s Day!