My thirteen year old and I needed to get COVID tests. We had to drive 30 minutes to a place we’d never been. The GPS landed us in a parking lot–no obvious testing center to be seen–on the edge of a large university campus. After surfing in vain for better information, and getting nowhere on a phone call, I sheepishly entered a dark maintenance building to try asking for directions.

The friendly Maintenance Man gave me directions to the campus health center. Not easy to find–and after another confusing phone call–they sent me to the basketball arena.

We parked, and started walking to the front door. We were stopped by a guy in the parking lot asking if we had an appointment (we did). He said, “There are three-hundred college students in line in that arena, and I was told my appointment means nothing–the wait will be two hours.”

I thanked him for the heads up, and continued to the front door.

The Gatekeeper confirmed Parking Lot Guy’s story, and it looked like a dead end.

Just then, the In Charge Lady with authority in her gait and command in her voice came down the stairs and asked us if we had an appointment (we did). She said we could go to the front of the line.

We were done in twenty minutes.

Now, cue the Dad Talk about politely walking through doors until they really close (not just seem to close). About being patient when you feel like panicking because you keep encountering almost dead ends. About being resourceful and humble as you ask for help from folks who may be able to answer your questions. About the differences in authority between a gatekeeper, a decision maker, and a trying-to-be-helpful man in a parking lot.

But more importantly, cue the talk about Providence. We believe that the Lord is in these little things–and that even if the errand failed completely, He’s still there working through our frustrations and suffering.

Later that day, speaking of Providence, the devotional reading made the same “Dad Talk.” I love it.

[Psalm 9] helps us toward the spiritual health of a thankful heart. We must discern God’s “wonderful deeds” in our lives, a phrase that can refer to dramatic miracles like the parting of the Red Sea. However, we must also learn to see the more subtle ways God comforts us just when we were ready to give up, or brings the right friend or book or line of thinking into our lives just when we needed it. Recognize and tell of God’s daily, wonderful deeds, and you will have a note of grateful joy as the background music of your life.

Timothy Keller, The Songs of Jesus, 13.