Today I am reminded how thankful I am for Divine Appointments. I don't believe in luck or chance, but I believe that God is completely orchestrating every aspect of life - even down to the details.
I went with my four kids to Wal-Mart this afternoon. It was late in the day, and I usually try to make my trips to that mad-house in the early morning in order to avoid the after work crowd. I went in for dog food only, but true to form, I came to the register with a buggy full of "things". OK, so they are things we will actually use! I grabbed some Almond Milk, 2 bags of gluten free chips (AKA Tostitos Scoops!), some Thanksgiving plates and napkins (paper, of course!), and some very small pumpkins that were on sale to go on my Thanksgiving table. The point is, I ALWAYS come out with more than I planned. What can I say? Everybody has their faults.
So we finally made our way to the check out line, and a gentleman pulled up behind me in the motorized cart. His cart was completely loaded down and he was pulling a buggy behind him that was even more filled than the cart. As he began talking, my heart immediately went out to him. He told me that, when he got home with all those groceries, he had kids and grandkids who would bring boxes over and load up food to take home with them. He said they rarely came to visit him, but only came over to get food or other things he had that they wanted. And he said, "That's just the way it is." He went on to tell me about how he raised his nine kids alone, because his wife had left him because he worked all the time trying to be somebody and didn't spend enough time with them. And he told me of the poor choices in a husband his daughters had made. As he talked, I could see tears forming in his eyes. And at one point, a few tears even rolled down his face. This was a man who had lived a long life and had no idea that things could actually be better than that. He had lived a hard life, and he told me that, if he could do it over again, he would do so many things differently.
Well, it was finally my turn in line. My two oldest helped me unload my buggy, as they always do. Generally, I have to tell them to stop fighting over who is going to help put the things on the conveyor belt! But tonight, they worked together beautifully. And when they finished, I called them over close to me, so as not to let anyone else hear. I told them that, while I was loading our things back in the buggy and paying, I wanted them to begin unloading his cart for him. He was old and tired, and I could tell he was already worn out from shopping. Both of them went right to work without any hesitation or questioning. When I got ready to pay, I looked up and saw the look on the man's face. He didn't really know what to do. Little Sister, my third, asked if she could get out of the buggy, because she wanted to help unload his buggy, too! So I lifted her out, and she went straight to work. When I was able, I went to help, too. Between the four of us, we had his buggy and cart unloaded, and all he needed to do was pay. I discreetly asked the girl working there if she could call over someone to help him take his goods to his vehicle and load them, and she did that very happily.
When we got ready to leave, I went and gave him a big hug and told him I hoped he had a great night. He looked up at me and thanked me, and the kids and I watched him roll away.
The kids and I headed to our van and loaded up. Once inside, I told them how very, very proud I was of them. I explained to them that this man had no idea of what real love was, and they just showed him a God love in a very real, tangible way. This man had lived a hard life. He was worn down from the disappointments that had come his way. And he knew he was going home just to face it again. But for tonight, for a few moments at the check-out register in Wal-Mart, this man got a glimpse of a God type love. We didn't know him, and we will probably never see him again. But I believe God had that Divine Appointment set up tonight, so that this dear man would be able to see in a real, tangible way that love for others does exist. To simply tell this man I hoped things got better for him would have been pointless. To wish him well and tell him to have a good night would have been ridiculous. Nothing I could have SAID would have spoken nearly as loudly as what my kids DID for him. They showed love. Unconditional love. Love for a complete stranger. Love for their neighbor.
And as for my kids, well, tonight they learned an amazing lesson in SHOWING God's love for others. How often in our small world do they have an opportunity to put into action the love for others that we instill in each of them? God provided that learning time for them. This is something I should think they will not soon forget.
So tonight, I am so very, very thankful for God's Divine Appointments in my life and in the life of my kids. I am so thankful He chose to use us and gave us the chance to serve Him through helping this man. And I am so thankful that He took me to Wal-Mart at an odd time and allowed me to stay longer than I had planned, all so that I would end up in line at just the right time to meet this dear soul whom God wanted us to love on. I am so thankful that God's timing is beyond any of my understanding, and it is greater than I could ever imagine.
I didn't write this so that people who praise what we have done. I am not looking for a pat on the back or any other thing such as that. The reason I tell you all of these things is because of this. First, I want you to see that you don't need to be a missionary in some foreign world to be used of Christ. You don't need a degree to share the gospel. Second, realize that I was NOT preaching to this man! I rarely said anything, but just let him talk. You don't have to be in a "church" setting or be a minister to be able to share the love of God with others. You can win people over more by your actions than anything you could say to them. And third, there are hurting people all around you. Look up from your own buggy and see the fields white with harvest! Is there someone you can help today? Someone you can share God's love with in a REAL, TANGIBLE way? Ask God to put someone in your path whom you can speak love and healing to today in the name of Jesus. And then come share your story of God's Divine Appointments in your life!