A few months ago, my mom and I stood in the terminal of the Phoenix airport, waiting to board a plane. A man in his seventies got in line behind us and we started chatting. He was headed to visit his daughter and we were on our way to see family as well. He carried along a very heavy duffel bag of dishes he brought all the way from Washington to deliver to his daughter. From that moment, I could tell he was a very kind person.
My mom moved up ahead to her boarding position while my new friend and I happened to already be in numerical order. We continued talking and he asked me a question that made me pause. It was one of those questions where I could have given a small talk answer, or I could have braved being real.
I chose being real. And it stung a little. You see, his question and my answer revealed that I had been left out of something important. I felt overlooked and not included.
My new friend said, “Well, when things like this happen, I try to trust that there’s a plan.”
Bells were going off in my mind, as I realized from his words that he was a Christian. I said, “I’ve been praying for God to take my bad feelings away.”
He immediately gave me a hug because he realized we were both believers. It reminded me that wherever we go, we are surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ and sometimes don’t realize it because we don’t say anything. We’re often too busy looking at our phones that we don’t look people in the eye and talk to them. I’m so glad that didn’t happen to me that day!
I found my mom on the plane, sitting in a window seat. I took the middle and our new friend sat down next to us in the aisle seat. For the hour-long flight, he poured so much wisdom and encouragement into us that we could barely speak. He asked questions and spoke into our broken places, sharing with my mom that he had also been divorced. He reminded us of how God was going to take care of us and our feelings.
He said, “We all have a load. Some of us have a big load and some have a small load, but we all have a load.”
He told us stories and reminded us of the power of obeying the Holy Spirit, that when He nudges us, we need to obey. Even when it doesn’t make sense. He told us how he usually attends a men’s conference every year, but this year God told him to go to a different men’s event instead. Even though he didn’t understand why, he obeyed.
While he was there, he saw a friend walk over to the dessert table and grab several pieces of chocolate cake. He walked over to the friend and said, “Hey, what are you trying to hide behind all that chocolate cake?”
His friend immediately broke down and shared that he had grown up in the foster care system and needed healing. It was affecting his marriage and his children and he didn’t know how to handle it all. My friend was able to support his friend in this moment because he obeyed God. My friend made himself available for this divine appointment.
That’s what our encounter with him felt like too, a divine appointment. God knew we needed encouragement and He provided it, in a completely unexpected way. It was a sweet surprise.
We exchanged contact info with our friend and who knows, maybe we’ll have more divine appointments with him in the future.
Here are the takeaways from this story:
- God sees you and knows your hurts. He loves you and cares about you. Trust that He will encourage you in His own special way. Maybe it will be through His Word or a worship song. Maybe He’ll send you someone to brighten your spirits via a divine appointment.
- Sometimes God calls us to be the divine appointment or source of encouragement to someone else. When He prompts you talk to a stranger or to send a text or card to someone, do it. When He asks you to rearrange your schedule to be there for someone else, even when it doesn’t make sense to you, trust Him. Oh how good God is that He uses us! Let’s be open to being interrupted or inconvenienced to speak life and peace into someone else. You just never know how much it will mean to them.