Divine Appointment during COVID-19

Yesterday was a Matthew 10:29-30 kind of day. It’s that passage that speaks of the Lord knowing when a sparrow falls to the ground and how many hairs we have on our head. Our Heavenly Father (yet again) showed me He hears our  prayers.  Even without a step counter, He was able to arrange not only how many steps I took but when I took them. He is amazing!

Trust in the LORD, and do good….. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalm 37:3-4)

My heart was heavy as I walked home from the clinic after helping a teammate navigate the medical system. Oh, not because of her son’s broken wrist or the care he received.  That all went well. I saw God at work in the heart of this 8 year old.  Although he had been awakened twice during the night by the discomfort, by the time it was arranged for him to go to a clinic, he was ‘feeling better’.  Although in some pain, he was more concerned that maybe money was being wasted for an x-ray and visit to the trauma specialist ($19 US), than if there was really anything seriously wrong.  Despite ‘quarantine rules’ the youth of the neighborhood had been enjoying some soccer in the field behind their building and a 12 year old had accidentally fallen onto J.’s hand.   The doctor sent me to buy plaster and gauze.  Three pharmacy visits later, I was back to the 4th floor office and not long after that J. had a bright, white cast from his knuckles to his elbow.  Afterwards, with smiles on their faces, they treated me to ice cream on a stick and we recounted the blessings of quality medical care that was simplified somewhat due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  Lines at the clinic, for example, were just a fraction of ‘the norm’. 

So, the burden I was feeling was not from my teammates’ circumstances, but because I was walking through the neighborhood of a pastor friend with whom I needed to have a face to face conversation,  scheduling such a thing during lock down was proving awkward.  Some of the things we needed to discuss he felt were too sensitive to talk about on the phone.  As I walked along the road between my house and his, I gradually gave the situation to the Lord. My hands were tied. I’d have to trust Him to work this one out for me and for His glory.  

Later that evening I received a request from the Netherlands to do something ‘good’.  The next day I had the privilege of arranging a 10th anniversary surprise for some co-workers.  What a delight to serve!!!!!!  The only thing better was what happened on my way home.  It was like finding myself in Acts 8:26-40.  Remember when Philip obediently went to the desert and an Ethiopian rode up in a chariot? When I stepped onto the sidewalk directly across the street from where my prayer had concluded the day before, I almost collided with the pastor I needed to see.  Our paths overlapped for about 50 yards and we got to discuss some conference details, some related financial issues, as well as the response of believers here and abroad to the COVID-19 situation.

I still get chills just thinking about it! There is no way that this friend or I could have planned this.  God was at work.  I live in a city of a million people.  Although this man lives “just” four neighborhoods away, within 1100 yards of our apartment, at this point in time we’re not to go more than 550 yards from our homes without a medical appointment or written permission. There were so many things that theoretically could have kept me from the blessing of this ‘divine appointment’.  I could have gone to the mall (which was closer) instead of walking to a new-to-me ‘fruit shop’.  I could have bought all the fruit at once instead of ordering strawberries and coming back to pick them up. I could have resisted the urge to see if the specialty bakery had re-opened. I could have bought the first bouquet of flowers I saw instead of checking at each booth. I could have been decisive and chosen the glass fruit bowl that came with cellophane and just taken it home to pack with fruit instead of going for the metal one, accepting the offer of the seller to wrap it with the fruit.  I could have made one less trip in and out of the gift shop by waiting to buy the flowers until the taxi was on its way.  I could have refused to buy the dried dates or told the seller to leave the price on it rather than taking time to have the numbers washed away. I could have waited until I was in the taxi to record costs instead of taking time to do it in three of the shops. For that matter, the taxi could have taken seven minutes to arrive instead of one.  I could have taken just one video instead of three of our friends opening their card and gifts. I could have accepted their offer to drink tea and celebrated with them. 

Instead, the Lord gave me the desire of my heart, an opportunity to hear and be heard by my brother in Christ, to encourage and to be encouraged.  Five seconds earlier or five seconds later and I would have missed it.  God’s timing is perfect!  What a joy to get to co-labor with Him!