I was at a conference and needed to run back to my car to grab some books. Fortunately, I’d taken a photo of the parking space I was in so I’d have no trouble finding my car. When I went back to the spot where I remember parking, I couldn’t believe my eyes. My car was missing. I double-checked my photo, and confirmed that this was the space.
Oh No! My car was stolen!
Despite this realization, there was a strange peace within me. After all, I had been through this before. When we lived in New York, a restaurant valet in the northern Bronx gave our car away to his friends for a joy ride. They totaled our four-door sedan during a high-speed chase with police. When we resided in San Antonio, someone stole our SUV out of the driveway at our home while we slept. Another high-speed chase with police ensued, but this time the car was returned to us in one piece, with a full tank of gas.
I raced back to the hotel to report the most recent theft. Security was called. The twenty-four-year-old hotel security guard, named Alex, wisely suggested we go back to take one more look, so we did.
We returned to the scene of the crime. I showed him the parking space. Still no car. “Why don’t we press the alarm on your key fob?” Alex said, “Just to make sure.”
I hit the button and in the open parking lot below we heard the sound of a horn going off. That’s when I remembered that I parked in the garage the first day I was at the conference and moved the car to the other parking lot the day after.
I was elated that my vehicle was not stolen, but also slightly embarrassed by my mistake. However, something told me our creative God put this meeting between the hotel security guard and me together.
I said, “Alex, I don’t believe in coincidences, do you? Perhaps God wanted us to talk and this is the only way he could arrange the meeting. Is there anything going on in your life right now?”
Alex then shared that his father had recently died and that he was struggling with his dad’s death because he missed him very much. I was able to encourage this young man by telling him that I was fatherless all my life but it was my loving Father in Heaven who filled the fatherless void in my life. God desired to do that for him.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling” (Psalm 68:5).
Alex was already a Christian. In fact, his mother prophesied over him, saying he would be a preacher, but it seemed like he was disconnected from the church. I believe that day my job was to encourage Alex to not only reconnect with a place of worship, but to also reconnect with his Father in Heaven, who wanted to comfort and love on him during his loss.
God gives us many opportunities to share His amazing love with others, but do we recognize when this happens? I am trying to be more aware of the divine appointments he provides, even in the midst of trying situations.
Father, help us to recognize the daily divine encounters you bring us. Give us the words to share about you and to encourage those who are struggling. Show us how to be conduits of your love for those who need your heavenly support. In your Son’s Holy Name we pray, AMEN