63: Soda Miracles

63: Soda Miracles

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

Soda Miracles

A prayer in its simplest definition is merely a wish turned Godward.

~Phillips Brooks

One beautiful day in Northwest Arkansas, while visiting the sixty-seven-foot-tall Christ of the Ozarks statue in Eureka Springs, my then-thirteen-year-old daughter asked for a Sprite. Looking at her with barely veiled surprise, I reminded her that we were deep in the Ozark forest, on top of Magnetic Mountain, and that mountain forests did not provide sodas for teenagers. Besides, I could really use a restroom, which also were not naturally occurring in forests, so soda was not high on my list of priorities.

This explanation was not convincing to my dear daughter, who promptly provided a solution. “I’m going to pray for one.”

“Sweetheart, one can not pray for soda,” I explained.

“Yes you can,” she continued, defiantly. “The Bible says to pray for EVERYTHING.”

“While this is certainly true, I don’t believe God had soda in mind when He handed down that little tip,” I reasoned.

“Well, I’m going to pray for it anyway,” was her unwavering response.

I told her to go ahead and do so if it made her feel better, but not to be too disappointed if it didn’t happen. I did ask her to pray for a restroom while she was at it, and we headed toward the car to drive home.

As we neared the parking lot, I noticed a small building situated not far behind the car. As we got closer, I realized that it was a restroom! How had I not noticed that before? Well, I guess it wasn’t really that bizarre. After all, we were in what was probably a popular local attraction. Regardless of the reason, the sight was welcome!

“Well, ask and you shall receive!” I exclaimed. I asked if my daughter needed to use the restroom before going. She didn’t. Tucking her safely in the car, my husband and I headed to the newly discovered restrooms, hopeful that they would be unlocked even though it was the off-season.

“Do you think I handled that okay?” I asked my husband, feeling uncertain about the message I was sending by discouraging prayer, even if it was just for soda.

“It might be confusing for her. After all, you tell her to pray for everything, then when she wants to pray for, literally, everything, you make her feel silly for doing it,” he admonished.

“I didn’t say it was silly!” I defended. “Just that it wasn’t what the verse meant! Doesn’t it seem kind of, I don’t know . . . blasphemous I guess? Praying for something as trivial as soda?”

“Not really. The Bible does say ‘everything.’ Who are we to put limits on that?” was his wise reply.

No sooner did he finish his sentence than we reached the tiny structure that housed the restrooms. And right next to the restroom entrance what should we find but a soda machine? We looked at each other in surprise and moved toward the machine to see if it was even on. It was.

“I don’t have any change. Do you?” I questioned.

“All I have is fifty cents,” he answered.

“It’s a dollar. We don’t have enough. That’s a shame, since that would have been a mini-miracle to her,” I said, disappointed.

“Let’s put the fifty cents in anyway,” he said.

“What would be the point of that?” I asked.

“She prayed for soda in the middle of the wilderness. Two minutes later we found a soda machine, in the middle of the wilderness. It’s worth a try,” he explained.

“I guess,” I said skeptically.

He plopped in the two quarters, and we instantly heard that reassuring click that signifies the acceptance of full payment.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. There was already fifty cents in there?” I asked.

And then I did something incredibly selfish. I hit the Coke button even though she wanted Sprite. After all, I reasoned to myself, she’ll still be getting soda. Just like she asked for.

When they say that God works in mysterious ways, we all nod our head in agreement. But do we really stop to consider what that means? Not only does He work in mysterious ways, He also manages to use one situation for multiple benefits. The cherry on top is that He can use seemingly inconsequential moments and seemingly minor events to create profound changes within us. This was the day I realized these facts in a new and enduring way. Why such a transformation in foundational thought? Because when I hit the button for Coke, after the machine taking fifty percent payment as full payment, a Sprite dropped into the retrieval tray.

We wordlessly stared at it. I was astounded by the lemon-lime packaging before us, but I think my husband was a bit more astounded by the fact that I had hit the Coke button after what had happened up until that point.

He looked at me. “I think you owe her an apology.”

I can’t describe the feeling of sorrow and shame I felt in that moment, as humility born of self-realization washed over me. In the midst of my daughter’s miracle I had tried to put myself first. What a terrible thing for an otherwise caring mother to do. I was sincerely and completely sorry, and ready to offer my deepest apologies to my faithful little girl. I turned toward the car, prepared to deliver her liquid miracle to her before even heading to the restroom that I increasingly needed to use. Two quarters spit out of the machine.

Tears sprang to my eyes, and I turned to my husband, a sense of awe filling me. He looked at me, retrieved the quarters, and, without another word, put them in the machine. I reached over and hit the very same button I had hit only moments before. A Coke dropped out.

I handed him the Coke and, Sprite in hand, walked to the car, opened the door, kissed my daughter, and handed her the Sprite.

“Pray for everything, and don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise.”

~Sandy Novotny

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners