Who will be your divine encounter?

Let-each-intersection

DQ was sitting at the table with Violet, one of my long-time friends. DQ looked young, maybe early 20s. He was new to me. I wanted to know his story.

Those seated around the beautiful tables this past Saturday afternoon were special guests for the annual King’s Banquet. They were from our homeless community and nearby housing projects, here by request to be treated to a delicious catered meal, to be shown the love of Jesus, and to embraced by grace in friendship.

violet

DQ said he was born in the Bronx, but was adopted by a Christian woman and she raised him in a small town in Alabama. He said she worries about him, always wanting to know when he’s coming home to visit. “In March,” he said, “I keep telling her I’ll see her then.”

How did he end up in north Alabama? Work brought him here.

But what brought him to homelessness? I didn’t want to ask directly, but I wondered.

What I could ask was this: What’s been the hardest thing about living outside? We had already talked about the spiders and bugs, that he preferred cold weather over hot weather, and that rain was a huge trouble-maker.

But his answer about the hardest thing surprised me: being outside of society.

Even though he had made friends in the homeless community (without them, he said he wouldn’t have survived), he still felt lonely.

I asked if the lady on his other side, who darted in and out of our conversation, who in general seemed to be more out than in, was his girlfriend. He looked at her, then back at me, and said no. She’s more like his street mom.

She smiled at that. I said it’s good they have each other, that she can show him around, and that he can help protect her in the camps. But he laughed and said no, she didn’t need his protection.

The music began so I let him get back to his meal, but I shook his hand and said I was glad our paths crossed, and that I hoped our paths would cross again sometimes in the future. He said likewise and we parted ways.

After the event, Jeff and I left in our car to take a friend home, then headed toward the public library to check out books.

While we waited for our light to turn green, a young man on foot was crossing the road in the intersection ahead.

It was my new friend DQ, toting his to-go plate from the banquet meal and the small gift bag everyone had been given.

While I’d hoped to see him again, I hadn’t really expected it would be so soon. I tried to catch his eye but he was concentrating straight on.

We drove on to the library. But as we were walking out, guess who was walking in?

DQ.

I told him, “I had a feeling we’d meet again.”

He laughed and said, “But I didn’t think it would be within 20 minutes.”

We waved goodbye and each went our separate ways once again.

Will I see him again later? Only God knows that.

The thing I know is this:

If God wants our paths to cross with someone, they will cross.

I’m learning it more and more, and appreciating the mystery of it with greater and deeper delight.

God wants us to be in community.

Loneliness isn’t part of God’s plan for us. Regardless of the circles we live in, God has the power to intersect any of our circles, any time, in any way, with other circles.

  • We don’t have to understand the encounters.
  • We don’t have to manipulate the circumstances.
  • We just need to be aware of and appreciate them.

Whether it’s one encounter in a lifetime or three times in one day, God places the right people in our paths for his purposes.

Maybe it’s someone we see every week, or someone we haven’t seen in years, or someone we’ve never met before and will never see again.

Each intersection with another human being is a delightful surprise, an encounter that is intentionally and divinely orchestrated.

I pray that DQ finds healthy ways to erase his loneliness in the weeks to come. I pray that he does go visit his mama in Birmingham in March. I pray that he eventually makes it back to New York to visit his birth mom like he wants to.

And I pray that the community of the Father, Son, and Spirit will combine with the community of God’s people to create multiple intersections in DQ’s life.

Cross our paths, Lord. Open our eyes to see and stretch our hearts to embrace those outside of our normal circles.

Please keep arranging our sacred encounters.

* * *

Have you had a divine encounter lately? Who do you expect to see this week outside of your normal circle? Please share in the comments.

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33 thoughts on “Who will be your divine encounter?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it is a joy to think about God planning ways for us to participate with him in his work. Quite an honor and privilege that we do need to pray about! Thanks, Michele.

  1. Mari-Anna Stalnacke

    Sacred encounters, I like that. And it really is so. May we see more of God’s handiwork and guidance in our lives. Thanks, Lisa. Always a pleasure to stop by. Blessings upon blessings!

  2. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I know you brought this young man DQ a new sense of community, just by starting to talk to him. And then seeing him at the library too. Our local library is often a way-station for the local homeless population in the cold of winter too. They can be safe, read, and wait for the shelters to open.

    I haven’t had a Divine Encounter in a while now, unless I had one and didn’t know it, which is certainly possible. I’ll keep my eyes peeled though. God is everywhere in everything. I just have to be ready to notice…
    Blessings,
    Ceil
    Ceil recently posted…The God of All PrayerMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I read an article just today about the homeless and libraries and how one library is going to hire a social worker to work there. Interesting. We always have lots of homeless at our main public library too. Yes, it’s a good safe and warm place for them to go. And read books too. 🙂

  3. Betty Draper

    I believe the Lord set one up for me at a meeting last night. This women is a cargo pilot working for a drilling company. Her husband works in Papua New Guinea for weeks at a time and they live where we live. My friend was actually sitting next to her and she introduced me as her missionary friend who was living in Paupa before California. One thing led to another and now we are going to connect when her husband returns. Chance encounter, no way, absolutely no way, God ordained. Great post.
    Betty Draper recently posted…StoriesMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Wow—that definitely was a God-ordained encounter, Betty! I love hearing stories like this one. Thanks for sharing it. I know the story will continue on as you meet her husband when he returns.

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Warning…rant ahead.

    Honestly…my prayer is that this country gets its head out of its nether regions, and instead of putting on idiocies like the Superbowl halftime show and American Idol and vacations for the President and congressional offices with 12-foot ceilings, funnels the money and effort to make sure that no one ever need be homeless, hungry, or without care and hope.

    This country is STUPID, and the priorities are obscene. We have the resources, but lack even the smallest amount of moral courage.

    Ask any veteran. We did not fight for Beyonce’s mansion, or for Jay Leno’s car collection, or for any Inaugural Gala. You do not kill for lifestyle.

    Wake up, America…these are human beings, and you are abusing them.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 122 – ForgivenessMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Well, you did warn me. ha. We definitely have problems that need correcting and priorities that need to be sorted out. And yet few solutions that we can agree on. Prayers needed at every stage….

  5. Sharon

    Divine encounters. Yes, I believe I’ve had some. The most recent one I can think of is with a receptionist in my dentist’s office. I’ve been a regular there over the last few months as I got one of my molars fixed. And since I know the front office staff well, I usually end up visiting for several minutes. This particular day, I was paying my bill and said something (I can’t even remember what it was) to one of them. And boy, her floodgates opened. She told me all about her husband leaving, and the difficulties she was having with the whole situation. I listened, spoke to her about the Lord, and promised to pray.

    I remember walking out the door, getting into the elevator, and saying to the Lord, “What just happened?” I realized that He had orchestrated it all, and had been in every single moment of that divine encounter. And really, it was HIM who spoke to her.

    This is the secret – that we continue to yield ourselves to Him, so that HE can have divine encounters THROUGH us.

    I’m not expecting to see anyone outside of my *normal* circle this week – but God might have other plans!!

    GOD BLESS!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You definitely had a divine encounter with that receptionist, Sharon! Those kind of stories are so faith-building to me. Just today I was in the waiting room at my gastrointestinal doctor, and out came one of the elders from my previous church that I hadn’t seen in a long time. He sat down and we chatted for 10 or 15 minutes before I was called back. I don’t know if the divine encounter was more for me or for him, but I’m suspecting it could have been meant for both of us. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Love how you made Laura’s quote work here, June. I totally agree with you: Every person is worth paying attention to. May I do better at that! Thanks for your encouraging words.

  6. Lisha Epperson

    These are intersections of grace and I agree with you on Gods intention in setting up divine appointments. My prayer is to stay focused enough to not consider them chance and to listen to my heart when nudged to truly engage. I don’t always do that but when I take the moment to connect beyond the superficial, I’m reminded of Gods plan and how much he’d love my cooperation. Sometimes the hints are huge. Let’s pray I always receive the message. Always love finding myself seated next to you in a linkup. Have a great week!
    Lisha Epperson recently posted…On Becoming Real : A Love StoryMy Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “not to consider them chance” – Yes, Lisha, that’s my prayer, too. I want my eyes to be open enough to recognize God when I see him. He’s always at work. Thankful for your friendship!

  7. Betsy de Cruz

    Sometimes I have divine encounters in the grocery store, just a moment to talk, make eye contact, and smile at someone. Recently I had a prayer encounter with a newly divorced woman in the ladies room at church. It all started because of a lady who buys used copies of Christian books and looks for who she can gift them to.

    I love your stories about ministry to the homeless.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Isn’t it amazing how God will show up in the most “average” of days and places like the grocery store or in the ladies room? Thanks for sharing this, Betsy. I know you are a blessing to all who encounter Christ in you.

  8. Katie M. Reid

    Yes indeed, beautiful reminder, “Each intersection with another human being is a delightful surprise, an encounter that is intentionally and divinely orchestrated.” Thank you for adding this post to the #RaRaLinkup Lisa. 🙂

  9. Beverley

    I don’t always feel lonely, but sometimes it just happens. On Monday I phoned my parents to see how dad was as he had had a bad fall and hadn’t too good and in the middle of the conversation my 85 year old mum said, ‘it must be lonely to live alone, I mean —-I have never lived alone so I don’t know what it feels like.’ In that moment I felt like the loneliest person on the planet. Living outside of society for whatever reason is definitely lonely and being homeless as well must be even harder.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Hope your dad is recovering from his fall. There’s always a difference to me between being alone and being lonely. I know lots of people who are surrounded by people, yet still feel lonely. And the reverse. Living outside of society would definitely be a strange sensation…

        1. LisaNotes Post author

          Glad to hear your dad is recovering. Smiling at his attitude; not a bad one to have. 🙂 If I ever make it to 86 (I can’t imagine!), I wonder how old I’ll feel.

  10. Kelly Chripczuk

    This makes me think, Lisa, about how often Jesus’ healings included (or made way for) a re-inclusion in community. Those with broken minds, broken bodies, broken hearts are too often on the outside. Thanks for this reminder to welcome others in more often – I think it’s probably also an opportunity to move beyond my own too often prevalent sense of loneliness.
    Kelly Chripczuk recently posted…Return Again: The Blessing of Being a Prodigal (#SmallWonder Link-Up)My Profile

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      A re-inclusion…good point, Kelly. Sometimes we can make it harder on people to come back in, when they are ready. Everyone needs a good welcome.

  11. saleslady371

    I like divine encounters and I like the way God brings them about in our days. He’s so creative that way! Bless you for reaching out to the homeless. I’ve got a word for you: “Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.” Ps 41: 1.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for that precious word! I love how often the Psalms makes mention of how God takes care of the poor, and how we should do likewise. I’m grateful for the opportunities he shows me; I know I’ve been blind for a long time to many of them.


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