The story of a "divine appointment"

The Christian community has coined the term "divine appointment." It's when you go out to do one thing, and you're basically minding your own business, and then you suddenly discover that God has you in the right time and place to do something beautiful for his kingdom. Divine appointments are great surprises, and they remind us that God is operating on levels we can't discern. This morning I want to tell you a little story about a divine appointment that happened to my dad and me a couple of days ago. I hope this story lifts you up. There's also an instructional point to it.

My dad and stepmom live in Glendale, CA, and my family was visiting them. One of the things dad and I always do is go for walks. (For those of you who know me well, that should come as no surprise.) His neighborhood is packed with old houses rich with architectural character, so it's always a lot of fun for me. And dad and I enjoy a close relationship -- something I will always be thankful for.

Technically this is the story of two walks. The first one happened at night. As dad and I passed one particular Spanish-style house, dad told me about the extensive remodel that had recently been done to it. While we were there, we noticed that the dome light was on in the car in the driveway. It was 10:00 at night, and no house lights were on. What do you do? We reluctantly decided not to ring the doorbell. We continued on our way.


The next morning we went on another walk, and we passed by the same house. At that moment, as chance would have it (not), the homeowner was walking across his front yard. We greeted him, and I asked with a grin whether his car had started that morning. It had, and we chuckled about seeing the dome light on the night before. Dad and I remarked on how fantastic the house looked. The owner, a man in his mid-thirties, said, "Thanks a lot! Would you like to come in and see the house?" Why not?

As we toured the house -- a truly deluxe place set on a hillside -- James the homeowner told us a little about the changes going on in his life. No intimate details but the basics. He had only been in the house for 5 days, so he was still moving in. We chatted about what he does for a living and other things.

As we went through one of the rooms, I said a silent prayer for God's peace and blessing to rest on James and the house. It's something I try to be mindful to do. It wasn't a complicated or long prayer.

When we finished the tour and were standing on the front porch, dad and I told James how much we appreciated his friendliness. Then I said, "I just want to mention that I'm a Christian, and I am praying that God blesses you in your new season of life and your new house." His eyebrows raised, and he replied, "I'm a believer too. I really appreciate that!" That kicked off a whole new conversation. Now we were able to go a little deeper. Dad and I encouraged him in his faith, and on dad's prompting, we ended up joining hands and praying together on James' front porch.

By the time dad and I left, we were walking six inches off the ground. We knew God had used us to bless someone. We had laughed with James about how if God sends not one but two pastors to the doorstep of your new home, he is definitely trying to tell you something! As the old song says, "His eyes are on the sparrow, and I know he watches over me." I know dad and James will have future conversations, and I have a good feeling I will see James again. I ended up bringing him a copy of Luminous, jokingly telling him I wanted to see my book in his sweet reading room. He said it would be the first book he reads in his new house.

Here's the practical lesson of the story. It's easy to say a little prayer for someone. No one can stop you from doing that. And it's only one more step to tell the person that you prayed for him or her. I have never met someone who wasn't grateful. Usually they are pleasantly surprised. Sometimes you find that that simple remark is part of a much greater "divine appointment."

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