An Appointment That Did Not Seem Divine

What’s on your calendar? I put social dates and commitments such as dentist
appointments on mine. Other routine activities, such as watering the yard, are
not written each day but regardless are completed.

God doesn’t seem to have a calendar, at least not one we can visually view.
Yet He does make appointments for us, which we don’t miss. When we see
the hand of God in a situation, perhaps an encounter with a stranger giving
us an opportunity to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ,
we give praise to Him for arranging a “divine appointment.”

Yet these encounters God gives us are not always accompanied by a
hallelujah chorus. In fact, the experience does not seem so divine. I
recognized such a meeting the other day after ordering dinner at an
In-N-Out Burger. The drinks at this fast food restaurant are self serve
so I walked to the dispenser to pour a lemonade over ice. However,
the old method of dispensing beverages had been changed. To prevent
the spead of COVID, the device was hands-free. Except I wasn’t sure
by the icon on the dispenser exactly what I was supposed to do to
make the ice tumble into my paper cup and the lemonade pour over
it. As I tentatively tested different methods, I heard a voice beside me state:
“It’s non-touch, this isn’t the 60s anymore.” My inner being bristled,
like the stance of a cat recoiling with a screech to show its displeasure.
However, my screech never reached the surface, remaining deep within.
At that moment, it was tough to graciously react to a condescending
remark. Instead of thanking him for his help, I mumbled something
about not eating fast-food very often.

The dinner break was around 7:30 p.m. and followed a long, tedious
drive out of the mountains to Sacramento. I had been following the
church van, driven by my husband, while I drove our pickup truck.
Both were filled with a few items we had chosen to “save” as we
evacuated from a wildfire. I was still trying to process my plight.
Items left behind kept surfacing in my thoughts on the long drive.
And then I was standing next to the drink dispenser where God placed
a man at my elbow to make a remark that He knew I would find
offensive. In a Psalm, King David found words to describe the deep
knowledge God has of us from the inside out. He wrote:

“Oh Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about
me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts
even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at
home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.” [Psalm 139:1-4 NLT]

Yes, my encounter was a divine appointment. God knew my thoughts
toward this man, whether I expressed them or not. God has been
writing lessons on my heart about consistency for the past 12 days
since the mandatory evacuation for the Dixie Fire. Life circumstances
change unexpectedly, but what remains constant is my behavior.
Wherever I go, who I am in Christ remains constant. Therefore, my
responses remain constant. I have a kind reply for a stranger at a
drink dispenser no matter the words that come from his mouth.

In his book, “The Blessing of Humility,” Jerry Bridges writes: “There is
much work to be done in our character. God uses adversities as one
means of doing that work (see Hebrews 12:5-11). It means we accept
the difficult and painful events of life as under the controlling hand
of our loving and infinitely wise heavenly Father. It means we believe
that God causes all events in our lives, whether good or bad as we
judge them to work together to conform us more and more into the
likeness of Christ (Romans 8:28-29)”1.

Those glory appointments, when some action God has orchestrated
demonstrates His character, that is the type of scheduling we deem
divine. We marvel at having been used by God. But sometimes those
encounters are for the refining process and that too is divine. It is
only after honing that we can be used for His glory.

Contemplate Your Ways:
1-Consider the encounters you have had lately with strangers. Were
any not so divine appointments? If so, what did you learn?

2-Have you had any hallelujah chorus divine appointments? If so,
how did God use you?

1-The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges published by NavPress.

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