I had joined my sister in downtown Atlanta for an international women’s conference where speakers and attendees from all over the globe had convened for a few days. We had come to hear and see the feature speaker, a childhood friend from our growing up days in California.
At the close of the conference we and dozens of other women stood in long, winding lines outside the restroom door. Checking my watch, I commented to my sister that it appeared as though I would have just enough time to get to the airport for my flight into Little Rock that afternoon.
No sooner had the sentence left my mouth than a face popped out of the line a few women ahead of me. “Excuse me but did you say Little Rock?” I answered the smiling face with a surprised “Yes!”
“I’m from Little Rock too!” she exclaimed. Before leaving the conference center that day we had exchanged names and phone numbers and a few weeks later were having lunch at a favorite restaurant. In an unexpected encounter in an unlikely place I had met a woman who would become one of my dearest and most treasured friends. The encouragement, delight and camaraderie we have shared through the years has been an absolute gift. This blessing came from being at just the right place at just the right time and meeting just the right person. It was, I believe, a divine appointment.
I love the proclamation of Psalm 37:23 that states “The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord”. It always increases my faith to look back on my life and see how carefully God has orchestrated certain things for my benefit and blessing.
That thought is reiterated again in Proverbs 16:9. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps,”. Nothing is more comforting to me than knowing that an all knowing and all powerful God is looking out for my best interests.
In an unexpected encounter in an unlikely place I had met a woman who would become one of my dearest and most treasured friends.
Many years ago when I was but a small child, my parents founded a church on their own with no denominational ties, no financial backing and no guaranteed income. Today it is a thriving church but in its infancy there was barely enough money to meet our family’s basic needs. With every penny of my parents’ restricted budget being needed for payments of bills, that first year there was absolutely no money for Christmas gifts.
One Sunday a very humble farmer and his wife showed up with their adult daughter who was visiting from New York City. Having moved to the East Coast years before to pursue a modeling career, she had later met and married a very wealthy business man. This woman instantly developed a strong attachment to our family and when she arrived back in New York sent enough gifts to supply a very ample Christmas. My parents were thrilled to have brightly wrapped presents under the tree where they thought there would be none.
For the next several years while my parents worked to establish and grow the new church, this same woman would send boxes full of beautiful children’s clothing for my sister and me at the beginning of each season. Although we were a family of modest income, we were the best dressed kids in town! I can remember my mom saying so many times how grateful she was that God had sent this benefactor into our lives at the time resources were the most needed. To her dying day she remained grateful for the unlikely connection of a New York socialite and ministers of modest means. I believe that too was a divine appointment.
As a third year college student I was rushing to class one mid winter day when a tall dark haired young man offered to help me cross a mud puddle too wide for me to jump. I introduced myself to him that day and a few weeks later I introduced him to Jesus. Two and a half years after that we were married. Yes, I met new people every day on campus. Yes, I had dated lots of guys before I met this one. But I like to envision our lives intersecting at just the right time and just the right place for purposes only God had in mind.
It was Albert Einstein who said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”. The longer I live and the more encounters I experience the less I believe in coincidence and the more I believe in appointments that have been divinely preordained.
It was Albert Einstein who said, “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”
Viewing things from this perspective reminds me of the connect the dot pictures I loved drawing as a child. When we look at the page we see nothing but random spots with numbers but when we follow the correct order and connect them together we have suddenly created a mini masterpiece, something we never could have drawn on our own. Tracing the divine in our lives is much like that. Rather than merely a random collection of unrelated incidents, we can begin to recognize a beautiful and sometimes intricate pattern that reflects the Master Designer at work.
Oswald Chambers called God the “Great Engineer, creating circumstances to bring about moments in our lives of divine importance, leading us to divine appointments.” For me it is often only in retrospect that I can recognize and appreciate those circumstances and moments. But when I do it always builds my faith and my trust that God is in control and working everything for my good.