My husband could win awards in the Powers of Unobservance world games, wherever they’re held. The other day he asked if we had any sunscreen. I was sure we did. He looked, which I know better than to assume means he searched. I suggested the likeliest spot–in a certain cupboard in the main bathroom. “Looked there,” he said.

You can see where this is headed, can’t you?

Knowing I was prepping for a trip, he offered, “Never mind. I think I have some in my tackle box.”

So he dug his tackle box out of the garage in order to mow the lawn.

When he came back into the house two hours later, the sunscreen was sitting on the bathroom counter. “Did you go to town for sunscreen?”

“Found it,” I said.

“Where? I looked everywhere.”

In that certain cupboard in the bathroom. I opened the cupboard door and right there in the front row of supplies was an enormous bottle of sunscreen.

“Huh,” he said. Says that a lot.

He thought we were out of butter because I’d bought a different brand. Different colored box. The color threw him off. Like a malfunctioning GPS messed up by sun spots.

The shirt he was looking for hung on the back of a chair in the dining room, a chair he passed four times in his search.

My grandson did not inherit his grandpa’s Powers of Unobservance. Even at three or four years old, he’d notice small details. “Hey! The spoon handles are facing the other way in the drawer!” “Hey, Grammie! This is different bird seed than you usually put in the bird feeder. It has more sunflower seeds in it.” And after our kitchen fire, “Grammie, your appliances all match now!”

I would wish for my husband to lose a little of his skill at not observing, but then I’d have to accept that I’m often the same way.

My tea at a Chinese restaurant came in this wholly un-Asian mug the other day.

At first I thought it spoiled the atmosphere of the lovely music in the background and the yummy garlic shrimp on the plate in front of me. But a small voice inside asked, “Is the tea good?”

“Delicious. But it wasn’t presented as I expected.”

Boom. Straight to the heart.

How many times do I miss what’s right in front of me because it’s packaged differently? I can’t find God’s answers because they’re a different shape or color than I thought they’d be. I say I expect the miraculous, but when the miracle is bigger than I thought or later than I thought or…plaid…I don’t recognize it as belonging to the request I made.

My husband isn’t the only one who misses things right in front of him. I asked for a friend and he sent me a project. I asked for a break and He sent me more work. Glorious, blessing-filled work.

I asked for Blue Willow. In His wisdom, God sent me plaid. Because He knew best. And maybe He was testing my powers of observation.

When has an answer come packaged differently than you thought?

How do you relate to this verse of Scripture? “For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.” Isaiah 64:3

Cynthia Ruchti didn’t expect to write novels. She expected to work in a chemistry lab, then stay home with her babies. She also expected to lose her baby weight. Her youngest son turns 27 next month. July also marks her daughter’s birthday and the birth of a nonfiction book from Abingdon Press called Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices. It joins Cynthia’s recently released novel, When the Morning Glory Blooms, which some have called “What to Expect When You Shouldn’t Be Expecting.” You can connect with Cynthia at www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage.