It feels a little odd when women I don’t recognize walk up to me and ask, “Are you Grace Fox?” But when it happened at my hotel’s hot tub on Saturday night, it was over-the-moon extraordinary.
Gene and I had spent the day hosting our ministry booth at Missions Fest Winnipeg. Our feet and backs ached from standing so long, so we slipped into the hotel’s hot tub to soak our wearies away.
We were about to leave twenty minutes later when a woman entered the pool area. I had to walk past her to reach the exit. As I approached her, she said, “Excuse me. You’re not Grace Fox, are you?”
“I am,” I said.
The woman broke into a big smile. “My name is Carolyn, she said. “This is amazing. I was on a women’s ministry committee that brought you to Winnipeg many years ago, and I attended the conference at which you spoke here last October. I receive your newsletter and blogs, and I follow you on Facebook. I consider you my mentor!” Then this dear woman proceeded to tell me about the events leading to that moment.
Carolyn had awakened that morning to a harsh reality: a water main had burst beside her family home. Water several inches deep flooded her entire block, and her house suffered the most damage. Several feet of water filled her basement before city workers arrived to turn off the main.
“I’ve been reading about your broken furnace,” Carolyn said. “Now my furnace is broken too. So is my hot water heater. Gone. Destroyed. I have no clue what’s next—what repairs will be needed or how long they’ll take. But guess what? I read your Friday blog about God being good all the time, even when bad things happen. That blog was exactly what I needed. And then I come here tonight and I meet you in person. What are the chances of that happening?”
A sense of God’s sweet presence and sovereignty fell on us. We both recognized that He had orchestrated our meeting as a tangible evidence of His presence in her situation. I mean, just think about it: My husband made reservations at this hotel weeks ago; her family booked their room—at the same facility—that day. We’d decided to soak for about twenty minutes and were about to leave when she showed up. If she’d come a minute later, we would have missed each other. Equally, we would have missed each other if either of us had decided against using the hot tub.
In light of what I wrote about God’s goodness on Friday, our human tendency might be to think it could have prevented the water main from breaking and Carolyn’s home from sustaining so much damage. Why would God’s goodness displace her family in the dead of winter? And as for her entire neighborhood, well, no one has water at this time. Everything’s shut off until repairs can be made. Meanwhile, the flooded road, driveways, and yards are slick like skating rinks. What’s with that?
We don’t see the big picture God’s painting, but we have to trust that He’s doing something that’s ultimately going to be good. Sometimes that “good” isn’t seen in the circumstances themselves but in the transformation that takes place in us as they refine us, making us more like Jesus.
“God is good all the time,” said Carolyn. “Even though all this stuff happened, the truth is still the same—He is good.” I agreed. We hugged and marveled together that, In the midst of this hardship filled with uncertainty for Carolyn and her family, God crossed our paths at a hot tub in a Winnipeg hotel so we could experience His goodness firsthand. Who would have thought?
How have you experienced an evidence of God’s goodness recently?