When Divine Appointments Don’t Feel Pleasant

I’m a firm believer that many of life’s inconveniences involve divine appointments with people the Lord brings into our lives—if only we open our eyes to see them. God appoints the times and places we live (Acts 17), and is a Master of the exact timing that creates the beauty of divine appointments. Over the years I’ve had them in stores and restaurants and on airplanes.

Even when I don’t have the opportunity to talk to someone or give them a book or booklet, I’ve been encouraged to pray, even if briefly, for many people I see in passing and don’t know. This I do know—God created them, loves them, and desires them to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). God has appointed one or more of His children, within their sphere of influence, to reach out and touch the lives of these people.

So I encourage you to see your life as full of divine appointments. This blog post from EPM reader Angelia Dittmeier is a reminder that these encounters may come in unexpected ways:

Divinely Appointed Unpleasantries

You know those times when you run into a person in life and you just know God brought you to the same place at the same time for a reason? Well….this was not one of those times, or at least not at first glimpse. Yesterday I had a run-in with a woman I’m going to call “Mary.” (I don’t know her real name, and I’m somewhat grateful for that. You’ll understand why shortly.)

Mary was in a hurry to get somewhere, it appeared, because she decided to head toward the exit of a parking lot by cutting across the incoming lane of traffic. I was in the process of entering, when suddenly she was in front of me. My son Colson saw her coming and warned me, but still I had to slam on the brakes to keep from hitting her. Mary also stopped, facing the wrong way (albeit caddy corner) right in front of me. I seriously don’t know if her rage was triggered at that moment or whether it might have already been well in progress, but promptly she began mouthing things at me. She rolled down her window, and I reached to roll down my own before something I’ll call “divine instinct” told me not to do it. Mary began shouting, and the lip reading was unmistakable. Use your imagination. Mary is a very angry woman.

This is Texas, y’all. For the most part, we try to get along–but I seriously believe that had I engaged in dialogue with Mary, she may have jumped out of her car and physically attacked me (while parked in my lane)!

Sometimes I’m dense. It wasn’t until this morning that an important truth dawned on me: Divine appointments are not always pleasant. The woman in that car needs prayer. She could have driven into the path of anyone, but the same God who laid out the stars of the universe timed it so that the object of her rage would be me. It doesn’t take a mental health professional to realize this woman probably has trouble going on her life, but I am one. It doesn’t take a preacher to understand that she needs prayer, but I’m a Christ-follower. And while it might take me a while to hear the voice of God, I do try to obey Him when He speaks. At approximately 6 o’clock this morning, God enlightened me to the fact that even bizarrely unpleasant encounters sometimes take place for a wonderful purpose, outside of the realm of human understanding. What an “Aha” moment! If I don’t pray for this woman, will anyone? (Perhaps you will…but more importantly, you may, like me, have a better perspective the next time you run into your own “Mary.”)

How do I really know that God directed me to pray for Mary? “But I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44, ESV)

Because He said so!

Photo: Pixabay

Randy Alcorn, founder of EPM

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries

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