An encounter by divine appointment


By Jan Davis

Special to The PREVIEW

The young woman sat alone in the booth, lost in her private world of hopelessness, unaware of the stares of other customers. A full cup of coffee untouched, with piles of wadded napkins next to her on the bench, she attempted to hold back yet another onslaught of tears.

Jan waited in line to place her order and tried not to look, as her thoughts traveled back earlier in the day and rested on her morning devotion. Throughout the gospels, stories abound of lives transformed when people encountered Jesus. Sins were forgiven, sight restored and the lame walked. After a face-to-face with Jesus, the disciples left homes and families to follow him. Zacchaeus returned his amassed fortune to the rightful owners. Jesus astounded the Pharisees with his knowledge of the law, and physicians marveled at miracles performed by the mere touch of his hands. Jan experienced first-hand the impact Jesus can create in a person’s life.

Jan sent up a silent prayer. “God, give me courage to share your love. May this unplanned encounter be by divine appointment. Amen.”

“Next, please,” the attendant beckoned. “How may I help you?” Jan placed her order and continued to pray while she waited. With drink in hand, she squared her shoulders, took a deep breath and headed to the unsuspecting woman’s booth.

“Mind a little company?”

“Please, leave. I’m not in the mood for idle conversation.” Sad eyes betrayed her strong façade.

Moved with compassion, Jan slid into the seat across from the upset woman. “We don’t need to talk; we can just sit, two strangers in the same booth. If you decide to talk, I’m here.”

Jan eyed her booth mate over the rim of her coffee mug and inhaled the sweet aroma as she took a slow sip. Patience was never her forte as she waited on God.

With frustration in her voice, the woman looked across the table and exhaled a desperate sigh. “Why are you doing this? You can’t say or do anything to change my circumstances.”

“True, I can’t, but someone can. But first,” Jan extends her hand, “Hi, my name is Jan.”

“Hi, I guess. I’m Bev.”

Silence hung in the air as Jan continued to sip her coffee. She held back the temptation to rush forward. In God’s perfect time, the conversation would proceed.

“So, who is this guy?” Bev ventured.

“A mutual friend … Jesus. I’m sure you recognize his name. I’d love a heart-to-heart conversation with you about how two strangers are not so different.”

“I’m not sure we have anything in common,” Bev said in conjunction with a hiccup. “But go ahead, get whatever you came to say off your chest.”

Jan took a deep breath, “Several years ago, I found myself in a similar situation. Despondent, alone and desperate, with nowhere to turn, I cried out to Jesus and he answered.”

Jan reached for a napkin and shared her personal testimony.

“Please, pray for me. I need Jesus’ help.” Through unshed tears a ray of hope reflected in Bev’s eyes.

“Absolutely. Heavenly father, I don’t pretend to grasp Bev’s hopelessness. But her life is precious to you. I pray Bev experiences your unconditional love, forgiveness and mercy. Help her to trust and seek your advice. Give her the wisdom to handle tough decisions. Show her favor in relationships as she pursues you. In Jesus name. Amen.”

Jan opened her eyes and looked into the now expectant eyes of Bev. “Thank you.”

“And, thank you for the privilege to share my story.”

God arranges divine appointments. Every day provides an opportunity to reveal the love of Jesus in a harsh world. These chance meetings possess the power to influence and transform lives.

When we make ourselves accessible and step out in faith, God shows up and does the supernatural. He administers hope to the brokenhearted, heals the sick and offers eternal life through the forgiveness of sin.

“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” — 2 Peter 1:3 (NASB)

Because of Jesus, our calendar is full of divine appointments.

I love you, but Jesus loves you more.