Every so often a situation happens that leaves me keenly aware of God’s providential presence in our comings and goings. Yesterday afternoon’s occurrence was no exception.
My husband and I needed to run an errand that meant driving about 30 miles. It was a rainy day, the kind that makes you want to cuddle with an afghan, a good book, and a cup of hot chocolate. But, since staying home wasn’t an option, I decided to do the next best thing: swing by Starbucks and buy a hot drink to sip while driving.
The nearest Starbucks is located in the hospital lobby across the street from my house. My husband dropped me off at the front entrance, and I dashed inside to make my purchase.
The first person I saw upon entering was a senior man sitting in a wheelchair, clad in a blue hospital robe. From a distance, his eyes appeared closed. Or perhaps he was simply looking down, staring at the same thing that had caught my attention: His legs…or what remained of them. You see, his left leg ended at the knee, and gauze covered the stump that was his right foot.
Compassion welled within me. A myriad of thoughts instantly bombarded my mind: What happened to this guy? How will this impact his life? Does he have a family who will care for him when he leaves this place?
Suddenly the amputee glanced up. His gaze landed squarely on me. I looked away, hoping he hadn’t noticed my curious stare.
Moments later I placed my order at Starbucks. As the clerk rang up my bill, I glanced behind me and realized that the wheelchair-bound senior was next in line. He held a bottle of Jones soda at arm’s length, trying to read the label. A quiet voice inside spoke clearly and pointedly. “Buy the drink for him.” How could I refuse?
“May I get that for you, Sir?” I asked.
The senior seemed flustered. He looked at the bottle and said, “I don’t know what this is.”
“It’s an orange cream soda,” I replied. “Would you like it? I’d be delighted to buy it for you.”
The stranger hesitated for a moment. Then, without saying a word, he thrust his arm forward, bottle in hand. I took it from him and handed it to the clerk who added it to my bill.
When I’d paid for it, I handed the bottle back to the gentleman. “Here you go, Sir,” I said. “Enjoy it!” His eyes locked with mine. “Thank you, thank you,” he whispered. He put the bottle in his lap and rolled away.
Frankly, I have no idea what that was all about, but I sense the encounter had a divine purpose. It was no coincidence that I decided to visit that Starbucks especially considering I’d done it only three or four times in the past five years. Neither was it a coincidence that the man was sitting in the lobby at the exact moment I arrived.
Only God knows why He crossed our paths. Maybe the man felt completely discouraged yesterday afternoon. Perhaps he felt as though no one cared about him. Maybe he’d prayed for God to show him that he still mattered to Him.
Only God knows the answer to these conjectures. But this I know for certain: Nothing happens by accident. For whatever reason two strangers’ paths crossed yesterday afternoon, I pray God used the incident to accomplish His purpose.
How about you? I’d love to hear your story about a time when you felt God orchestrated a situation even though you didn’t see a result.
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