Chance Encounter or God Encounter?

Coincidence? Bad luck? Good luck? Chance encounter? God encounter? Let me be clear on my opinion… it is all about God encounters.

I have been studying about encounters with God. Now, if we surveyed “Family Feud” style, and asked 100 people what a God encounter was, we would likely get at least 10 answers on the board, if not more. Through personal experience and through my own understanding of the Word, I believe luck and coincidence are actually encounters with God.

These are the most precious moments when He intervenes on our behalf. We may recognize it immediately, we may recognize it later, or we may not know it this side of Heaven. Regardless, for those that love Him, He will work all things for good. I learned this the hard way. Perhaps you will believe my own first hand accounts and not have to go through the painful process to see Him at work. Perhaps He needs you to go through the pain to see Him. Those circumstances and those questions I will probably never be able to answer. I just know that I have to put my trust in Him, that whatever will be is best, as long as I love and trust Him.

Several weeks ago I volunteered for the Book Fair at Hunter’s school. We sign up weeks before the Book Fair actually happens. I signed up for one of the time slots that covers Hunter’s time in the Book Fair. Well, of course HIS time is 8 AM. Suck it up my dear. I signed up for the 8-9:30 AM time. The week of the Book Fair, I got my reminder email about my time. Yeesh, what was I thinking? I have been struggling with some new meds that make me sleep all the time, literally ALL the time. As my Mom said “I think you had a brain fart when you signed up for 8AM”. Ay ay ay! I signed up for it so of course I was going to hold true to my commitment.

I showed up a few minutes after 8, to which I will blame my slow coffee maker. Nonetheless, I was there. Was my heart in it? Not sure. The physical me was there anyway. Hunter’s class was first, and really all he wanted me for was my money. We compromised on the books within the set amount that I had given him and before I knew it his class was leaving the library. I wanted to leave with him and go home and crawl into bed, but I was committed to another session. Ay ay ay!

The next group was 5th graders. They don’t really need help. They know the drill, so essentially all I needed to do was keep the stacks neat and tidy during all the browsing. A boy walking around by himself approached me “Ma’am, do you have this series?” He pointed to a piece of paper in his hand with a title of a book series written down. I could tell from the title it was likely this was a series that targeted children a bit younger. I had not seen the books, but I asked the book fair angels (coordinators). They did not think they had seen it. I told the little boy we didn’t have any but perhaps at the next fair we would. I asked if he wanted something else. “No ma’am, I collect this series and that is really all I wanted.” He looked a bit disappointed but continued looking. Nearly 15 minutes later as I was straightening books I found the exact series AND book the boy wanted. Even the book fair angels didn’t know it was in stock! I grabbed the book and ran circles around the library looking for the cute blonde headed boy. I showed him the book and his eyes lit up like the North Star.

“How much?” I told him it was $5. He pulled a ziplock bag out of his pocket and counted out $4. The North Star dimmed as he explained to me that he didn’t have enough money for the one book he wanted. Flashback… perhaps Mom forgot it was Book Fair day and gave him the only cash she had on hand. Been there, done that. Perhaps the child forgot to tell Mom about the Book Fair and he grabbed his own money that he had been diligently saving. Been there, seen that. Perhaps Mom didn’t work and Dad was laid off and $4 was all they could spare. Been there, except when I was there, anonymous angels stepped in and blessed us. I looked into his eyes and said “What if I give you a dollar so you can buy the book?” He looked at me in astonishment, almost as if he was saying that he was looking at a crazy woman. “Would you really give me a dollar?” I shook my head yes and told him to follow me to the register. I grabbed a dollar out of my wallet (mind you I almost never have cash now that I’m not carrying Emmer’s “pot of cash” for groceries as we called it, but of course this day I had cash). He purchased his book, wrote his name in it and joined his class just as their time at the Book Fair was ending.

This little blonde whom I don’t even know and never even knew his name… Something about me drew him to me and something about his sparkling eyes and quiet demeanor kept me drawn towards him. I kept looking for that series of books long after we had all given up on it. Today I can’t even remember the name of that book, but I’m certain that little boy is holding that book as a priceless treasure.

When his starry eyes looked at me in disbelief that I would help him buy the one thing he wanted, I knew I had not had a brain fart. I knew I had not accidentally signed up for that early time. This was not coincidence. This was a series of encounters with God that led up to this blessing. Chance, luck, coincidence? Nope. It was a much-needed God encounter for me and a blessing for both of us.

Moments like these keep my eyes open for God to move me where He wants me to be. I have been the shy face in the crowd, confused and desperate for help. I saw a face I recognized when I looked at him. In those times, people took me under their care and loved me in ways I still have yet to comprehend. My love for that child cost me 100 pennies, the joy on a boy’s face in the midst of a God encounter… priceless.

© Copyright Gatewood Campbell, November 2013

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