Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tickets to Alcatraz

My father didn’t think he should bother God with little everyday problems and requests. Said he’d wait until he needed something important. I wasn’t sure if he was worried God would think he was a nuisance and ignore him when it really mattered, or if God was just too busy answering prayers about starving children and warring countries to be concerned with our growing grocery tab at the neighborhood market.

And so I outsourced most of my childhood concerns. Various saints were delegated the task of helping me find missing items and being safe in the car. Santa Claus got the big-item-once-a-year wish list while crossed fingers and first stars of the night got my lesser daily desires. I did pray to God every day, but I kept to things I was certain He was interested in—like forgiving my misbehavior and helping me to be better.

Years later, when “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight,” Santa Claus, and crossed fingers were as distant a memory as my teddy bear, I floundered about seeking something on which to pin my daily concerns.

That’s when God stepped in and showed me nothing was too insignificant for Him to handle. The same God of the universe and all things incomprehensibly infinite was also the God of my minutia. (Care to tweet this?)

                                                           Tickets to Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island

I had moved across the country to try out life In San Francisco, but nothing was working out as I hoped. Plus, the strain of having to stay alone in an apartment in a strange city while I pieced together enough temp jobs to feed us was taking its toll on my young son. So one sunny afternoon we decided to have fun and take in the city sights.

Making our way to the bay, we joined a group of tourists in line for the ferry tour around Alcatraz. I stood at the edge of the crowd and debated whether or not to spend my last few dollars on something so irresponsible.

 I agonized. It seemed too insignificant a request to warrant the attention of heaven.

It would have been easier if my son had whined and begged. Then I could have felt justified in squelching a tantrum. But the silent hope in his eyes as he looked from me to the diminishing line melted my resolve.

“Lord, please forgive me if I'm being frivolous. It’s been a tough time for him, and he needs to have some fun.” With that, we took our place at the end of the line.

As the last person reached the booth, I faltered. My son looked at me with a desperate glance of hope.

“Psst. Psst.”

Standing at the side of the ticket booth, two little ladies, each with a head full of bluish curls, were gesturing to get my attention. I eyed them warily as they held something out to me.

“Here,” one said, her face awash in delight. “We have two tickets we don’t need. Go ahead. Take them.”

I can’t say for sure, but I suspect, no two people ever felt so gifted by God for a trip to Alcatraz.

The final whistle blew as we hurried up the gangplank. 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him.--Psalm 34:8

Blessings Friends,


  1. Loved it. God is always there if we just take the time to "see" him. Thanks for this!

  2. What a great story, Marcia. It's amazing how God meets us in just the nick of time. And in ways we would never dream. (And YAY for your click to tweet!)

  3. Funny how we think we need only consult God with the big things in our lives when he even cares about tickets to Alcatraz (or whatever else we need in our everyday lives)

  4. Love this story, Marcia! I never tire of hearing how God immerses Himself in the details of our lives.


  5. Ooo... a divine appointment! And it always tickles me to see how it is just as much a joy for the giver as the receiver. Not to mention if you were to try and coordinate such a moment of perfect timing with neither party knowing about the other... well, these are just my favorite kind of stories in the whole world. Thank you for this!


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