It was cold. I stood at the bus stop, shuffling from one foot to another just trying to keep warm. I blew into my hands and my breath came out in a misty plume. Staring down the street no bus was visible. “Come on!” It was already five minutes late. As the wind blew a shiver went through me. Swearing under my breath, I could feel the anger welling up. I was standing here freezing because I was ordered to attend driving class due to a DUI and on top of that the court had taken my license for six months. Life sinks.
As I continued to wait I saw an old woman coming up the street pushing a shopping cart. As she approached me, I could see that she wasn’t very warmly dressed and she had the look about her of someone who lives on the street. Her cart was full of odds and ends with something that might be a sleeping bag sitting on top. She moved forward slowly but seemed to be oblivious of the cold. When she reached the where I was standing, she looked at me with a smile that lit up her weathered face. “Another beautiful day, young man.” She said standing almost next to me, “Wouldn’t you agree?” I was stunned by not only her words but the joy in her voice. I wanted to lash out at her with the anger I was feeling but as I looked into her twinkling blue eyes my anger ebbed out of me and I said in return, “I can’t agree with that, I am freezing.” At that she laughed and it was a warm and hearty sound. She reached out and patted my hand and said, “The bus will be here soon, don’t let it ruin your day that it is a few minutes late. You are young and strong. God will bless you today, I am sure of it!”
How often in our busy lives do we take the time to notice the people around us? To be aware that there is someone standing next to you at a bus stop or in the line at the grocery store that is having a bad day. Do we take the chance to reach out and share a kind word or do we live in fear that our kindness will be rejected? Everyday there are little choices we make that can either better the world around us or maybe even make it worse. It is really up to each one of us to decide.
When I joined a church family, I heard people talking about divine appointments. I really did not understand the term but heard it quite often so I became curious. One day while talking with a friend he began to tell me about what he then referred to as a divine appointment. I had to stop him and said, “I keep hearing this term but I don’t really know what you are talking about. He smiled and said, “It is just a term that is used for an incident or meeting that initially seems to be random but you soon recognize it to have been caused by God.” I was puzzled by this and asked, “How do you know it is caused by God?” My friend told me this and I liked it so much I want to share it with you, “I know we often wish we had a hotline to God’s throne so we could find out what he wants us to do in a given situation. Moses had a convenient burning bush to tell him what God wanted him to do next. Samuel heard an audible voice when he was trying to sleep. Even Jesus’s disciples heard a booming voice from the sky on at least two occasions. But for us today. It seems God’s messages are typically subtler. It’s bumping into someone and having a chance to pray with them or share the exact kind words they need at that moment. It having a little extra money and meeting someone who needs that exact amount. It is praying to God that something specific would happen, and then it does the next day. Divine appointments are situations when it feels like God brought you and someone else together so that you could comfort them, help them in some way or just be there. The Holy Spirit is waiting to do this in your life, you just need to be open to it.”
I left that conversation with a new understanding of what God tries to do in our life every day. So many people suffering, angry or lost and He seeks to comfort every one and the best part is He wants to use us in this blessing. Listen to what Paul says, “Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, for us to be able to comfort those in every tribulation through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1: 3-4) Isn’t that awesome, God wants us to be instruments of His mercy. We get to partake in the greatest ministry He has for us and all we have to do is be open to and pray for the opportunities to do it. That is very cool!
That cold morning waiting for a bus, angered and bitter, God allowed me to have a divine appointment with one of His willing believers. Her godly joy and optimism sucked the anger out of me. I could not believe this woman who seemed to have nothing had so much to offer in just a few kind words, a hearty laugh, and a gentle touch. My day was blessed, if I wanted at that time to recognize it or not. God had reached out through her because He loved me that much. And today I can do the same for others, so can you. What do you say, let’s take the time today to share His love? It is an offer we shouldn’t refuse because on top of it all we get a blessing of doing His will right along with it. I say it again, very cool!