Shirley W.'s husband was dying of kidney disease, and the family was experiencing extreme financial difficulties. One of Shirley's friends had given her some cucumbers and other garden vegetables. That morning Shirley washed the vegetables, and thought about the big salad she would make for dinner. She hoped it would fill up her family because there wasn't going to be much else on the table. She would have loved to make some pickles from the leftover cucumbers too, but that would require dill, and she had none and no way to buy any.
Abruptly she stopped, before slipping into sadness. "God, I thank you for all the blessings you have given us," she prayed. "And forget I said anything about the dill." Shirley had learned that praising God during difficult times often banished the sorrow she would otherwise feel.
That afternoon, Shirley's husband had a doctor's appointment, so he and Shirley left their 18-year-old son, Kenny, in charge, and went to the office. While they were gone, the doorbell rang and Kenny answered. A man was standing at the door holding a box of groceries. "This the W. house?" he asked.
"Yes," Kenny responded.
"Then come and help me," the man told him.
Setting down the box on the front porch, he turned around and went down the steps. Kenny noticed an old car parked in front of the house. "Wait a minute!" he called. The man kept walking.
Startled, Kenny followed him out to the car. There in the trunk were four more large boxes, filled to the brim with groceries. Kenny was well acquainted with the family's financial problems.
"Listen, Mister," he said, "I think you have the wrong house. My parents. I don't think they bought all this."
The man lifted a box. "Help me carry them in," he told Kenny, as if he expected to be obeyed.
Kenny grabbed a box. Maybe a friend was sending something? But who would know their situation? And he had never seen this man before. "Would you mind telling me your name?" he asked, depositing the box on the porch, and hurrying to catch up with the man.
The man smiled at Kenny. "You don't need my name," he said. "I'm just going about my father's business."
"But who's your father?" Kenny persisted. He carried the last box onto the porch and set it down. The man didn't answer. Kenny turned to him and the hair on the back of his neck stood up. The man was gone. Kenny looked at the street. The old car was gone too. "Honest, Mom, I didn't hear him go. He couldn't have gotten away that quickly." Kenny tried to explain it all when his folks came home. But he needn't have tried, for when his mother looked at the largest box, grateful tears sprang into her eyes. She understood just who had provided for the family that day. For lying on top of the groceries was a package of dill. "I have many stories of God's goodness," Shirley says today. "Sometimes it's hard to share, because you're not sure who will believe you." But she knows God's angels often bring help along with hope.