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Simple Lessons from a Few Cans of Soup

By Lynn Muir
Lynn Muir blogs at PocketfulofPaint.com.
woman kneeling by a bed praying

Shortly after having my second child I started to have some serious feelings of homesickness. My husband and I were living in San Diego, thousands of miles from my childhood home and family. I deeply missed my family and old friends. I decided I would pray to gain new friendships where I was living. I began praying for this nightly and started to feel bothered that nothing seemed to be happening. One day I told my husband about my prayers and through tears expressed my frustration. I explained how I had been praying about this for a while and felt like my pleas were not being answered. I told him about the wonderful stories I had heard where someone had prayed for a friend, a little extra help, or simply to feel noticed. And then, as if God personally delivered a package to their door, someone was there to comfort them. I wanted this kind of experience. I was longing for it. I wanted to know that I was being heard and that my loneliness mattered to God.

After I shared my feelings with my husband, we both returned to our normal routine. A few hours later, I was starting to make dinner when I heard the doorbell ring. My husband answered the door and I heard him say, “One second, I’ll get her.” He walked into the kitchen and with a smirk on his face said, “Someone is here for you.”

Curious about that smirk, I walked to the front door and saw an older woman from my church standing there with six cans of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. I will never forget what she said to me as I approached her: “I was thinking about you and just felt like I should stop by. I wanted to bring you something, but this was all I had handy.” I was shocked as she handed me the six cans of soup. We visited for a few minutes, and then she left. She had no idea about my prayers, no idea that she was a direct answer to my prayers. I was not craving chicken noodle soup. I was, however, yearning to know that God was listening to my prayers. Her visit and those cans of soup meant the world to me.

I continue to cherish this experience as it helped open my eyes to the goodness of our loving Father in Heaven. This changed my relationship with Him and helped me to understand how important each person is in His eyes. I learned three important lessons from this experience that I strive to carry with me daily.

One is that God knows each of us individually. He knows what makes us happy and what causes us sorrow. He knows what we need, what we can wait for, and what we can do without. He loves you and He loves me—as different as we each are, He loves us all. In our good times and in our failures, He loves us and He cares.

Secondly, I learned that I need to make a conscious choice to notice the blessings in my life. My prayers and pleas for friendships were being answered. Just because it wasn’t as obvious as someone showing up at my door didn’t mean it wasn’t happening. As I reflect back to those times, I can see the hand of God in my life in many simple and beautiful ways. We must choose to look for God’s hand. We can do this through gratitude and enthusiasm for life.

Lastly, I learned to listen and to act. I often think about this woman who showed up at just the right moment. It makes me wonder if I am listening to the still, small voice when it whispers to me. Am I listening closely enough so that I might be a blessing to someone else? Each morning we can make a choice to invite the Holy Ghost to be with us and guide us through our day. With His help we can be a light to others. Our offerings don’t need to be grand. We don’t need to wait for what we feel is the perfect moment. When we feel the Lord is telling us to go, we must act or we may miss a chance to be the light someone needs.

Neal A Maxwell said, “A universal God is actually involved with our small, individual universes of experience! In the midst of His vast dominions, yet He numbers us, knows us, and loves us perfectly.”

I know that we are loved children of God. I know that He will answer our prayers in the time and way that He knows we need—even if it is as simple as a friendly face offering us a few cans of soup.

Lynn Muir blogs at PocketfulofPaint.com.