On the front porch of his little country store in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and Berry, his partner, stood. Business was all gone, and Berry asked, “How much longer can we keep this going?” Lincoln answered, “It looks as if our business has just about winked out.” Then he continued, “You know, I wouldnt mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldnt mind so much if we could sell everything weve got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one bookBlackstones Commentary on English Law, but I guess I cant.”
A strange-looking wagon was coming up the road. The driver angled it up close to the store porch, then looked at Lincoln and said, “Im trying to move my family out west, and Im out of money. Ive got a good barrel here that I could sell for fifty cents.” Abraham Lincolns eyes went along the wagon and came to the wife looking at him pleadingly, face thin and emaciated. Lincoln ran his hand into his pocket and took out, according to him, “the last fifty cents I had” and said, “I reckon I could use a good barrel.” All day long the barrel sat on the porch of that store. Berry kept chiding Lincoln about it. Late in the evening Lincoln walked out and looked down into the barrel. He saw something in the bottom of it, papers that he hadnt noticed before. His long arms went down into the barrel and, as he fumbled around, he hit something solid. He pulled out a book and stood petrified: it was Blackstones Commentary on English Law.
Lincoln later wrote, “I stood there holding the book and looking up toward the heavens. There came a deep impression on me that God had something for me to do and He was showing me now that I had to get ready for it. Why this miracle otherwise?”
Gods wonderful works which happen daily are lightly esteemed, not because they are of no import but because they happen so constantly and without interruption. Man is used to the miracle that God rules the world and upholds all creation, and because things daily run their appointed course, it seems insignificant, and no man thinks it worth his while to meditate upon it and to regard it as Gods wonderful work, and yet it is a greater wonder than that Christ fed five thousand men with five loaves and made wine from water.
Martin Luther in Day by Day We Magnify Thee