A "Chance Meeting" or a "Divine Appointment"?
Today was another one.
My heart was set on eating a gyro from a food truck down the street from where I work. For some reason today, I was hungry about an hour earlier than usual AND I knew exactly what I wanted. This is abnormal for me. Most days I have to stop myself from working because if I wait too long to eat lunch, I won’t feel much like dinner a couple of hours later. On top of that, I am not very good at deciphering what food I’m in the mood for. I’ll admit that I usually don’t know what to eat until I start driving in one direction or another. But like I said, today was different.
Since the food truck is just a five minute walk, I usually call ahead as I leave the building so my meal is ready as soon as I get there. The man on the other end of the phone took my order and was about to repeat it back to me when he suddenly said, “I just realized: our downtown location is closed today. I’m sorry.” Well, there went that plan! I trotted the 30 yards back to the building I had just walked away from. I needed to return the money from the other person who liked how my suggested lunch menu sounded.
On to plan “B”. I regrouped, knowing I had to make a decision soon or everyone within a five-mile radius would hear my stomach growling. I settled on another favorable option, called in my order, and began walking the OTHER direction. And that’s when it happened.
I had just turned the corner when a friend I hadn’t seen in quite a while got out of his car. We hugged and began catching up right there on the street. Now, this sort of thing happens all the time in our small town. You can’t go very far without running into some person you know. But there are those meetings that are unique. It could be that encounter that provides the special encouragement you need that day or maybe reconnecting with a friend that you haven’t seen in awhile. Either way, we walk away and think: “What are the chances?”
So there we were—my friend, Marvin, and I—exchanging pleasantries, when he asked what was new with our family. That kind of question begs to be weighed: is this the time and place to launch into deeper waters? Knowing my friend, he wasn’t just being polite; so I obliged. Right there on the sidewalk of busy Main Street, we stood and talked about our family’s new journey to church planting. He had so many encouraging things to say. He even offered to pray for me right there, which he did even as people passed around us on the sidewalk. I was so blessed.
I’ve had a number of these types of chance meetings/divine appointments with people over that last seven months…ever since we heard the call to plant a church. Every one of those was at just the right time, providing much needed encouragement, reminding us that we are on the right path, nudging us in a clearer direction, connecting us to other ways that God is at work around us, and so on. Three months ago, I ran into old friends from Florida in a Firehouse Subs restaurant in Jonesboro as they were on their way to Branson, Missouri. We talked briefly (I was late for where I was needing to be) and realized that they too were moving to plant a church in the near future. And I have many more stories like this one.
One thing I know: God is always a step ahead of us. He knows the names of people we’ll meet in Boston. He also knows the names of the people we’ve already met, be it in Jonesboro or Florida or wherever. He knows that I need constant reminders that I’m headed in the right direction. He knows that I’m gonna need to be shown often that we are alone. He knows.
So…there is no question for me: that is what i call a “divine appointment.” I really needed that today. And I didn’t really need a gyro after all.