Whether you call them divine appointments, chance encounters, miracles or coincidences you know when you have had one, It is that moment that seemed surreal, that either changed the direction of your life or someone else's, that unexplained happening that you just cannot wrap your analytical mind around and leaves you shaking your head.
I have had many, and wanted to be able to share with you, as I start putting them all to paper. For me, as a follower of the Way, I call them miracles and divine appointments. The memory fades, but stories live longer. So, today I want to share one that really stands out in my mind, and to this day I am in awe of the happenings of that cold afternoon, as I was working in the Happy Thoughts clothing store on Mooney Boulevard, in the small town of Visalia, Ca.
It had been a very slow day, and not many customers had come into our gently used clothing store. I was training one of the young ladies from the Thunderbolt youth program skills on how to work in retail, to help her in her job quest. It was towards the end of the day when a young man walked into the store. He looked rough, like gang style rough. He was dirty and smelled of smoke and meth,as if he was living on the streets and I heard a whisper on my ear to send the young girl home, NOW! Since it was the end of the day, I told the worker to go ahead and call it a day, she would get full credit. As the young man wandered aimlessly throughout the store, the worker's ride arrived to pick her up. As soon as she was gone, this young man got my full attention. I sized him up and took him to the men's clothing area. I noticed his shoes had holes and he had no jacket in this cold weather. We found the perfect fit in both for him. One of our stores policies were if we saw a need, fill it. So we went through gently worn clothes looking for his treasures.
As we talked I learned he was from Tulare, had gotten out of jail a month before, had just found a place to live and had no job. He went to change his clothes in the bathroom. As he was changing in the bathroom, I was impressed to gather some of the new toys we had gotten in, unopened, for a toddler. I stacked these together and wrapped a beautiful ribbon around them, placing a bow on top, all ready to give to a little one. A few moments later he came out of the bathroom, and the transformation was amazing. He had washed his face and hands and wet back his hair. He could not have been more than 18. He mentioned only having a dollar or two. I told him there was no charge for today. He looked totally surprised and then suspicious. I asked him if he had any children. He said yes and that was the reason he came in, to find something for his child. He looked over at what I had on the counter and said something to the effect of if I had the money that is what I would like to get. I told him that the Lord had already put on my heart to gather together the toys and put a ribbon and a bow on them so he could give the gift to his child. His eyes got real big and he trembled. He said well I can take the shoes, but was acting real cagey. I do not remember him ever telling me his name , but at that moment I knew it and called him by it and told him there was no charge for the clothes he had on, the jacket or the toys, that they were a free gift from Jesus.
That 18 year old boy broke and started crying, said he was addicted to drugs and had come in to rob me to buy drugs and buy his baby a gift. He wanted to know who was this person that cared about him enough to get his baby a present and give him clothes. He said he wanted to be free. I told him about Jesus, how he had taken our sins upon himself and died and rose again and sits by His Father in heaven, so that we could be free and live a life with Him. That young man repented from his sins and asked the Lord Jesus into his heart and asked him to set him free from drugs. As he opened his eyes, he smiled and said I feel like I can breathe and so light, like there is nothing on my shoulders. We laughed and hugged and celebrated his decision. He asked if I could please throw away all his old things, he was a new man. I assured him I would. We had an extra bible so I gave him that and contacts in Tulare at a church I knew would love him and help him in his new walk. As I locked the door of the business that night it hit me, this young man was going to rob me and maybe kill me (no money taken in that day, $20 in the till). Instead, God had a plan that was so much bigger than even I could imagine.
I have put one of my own stories here to get you started. Share your stories by emailing to email@example.com