Divine Appointment of Hope

Lord, Lord, Lord…

Aside from just soaking in Your Presence, there’s nothing I enjoy more than the gift of serving You.  By Your Amazing Grace, today You gave me just such an opportunity — a Divine Appointment You had planned long ago.

We went to church in the town of Madison this morning.  A Methodist Church.  We looked up the service time on the Internet and promptly got it wrong, so we showed up an hour + 15 minutes early!  Oh, well… We had a wonderful time driving through the back roads, exploring the rolling hills and farms that surround the town.  We made it back to the church just a few minutes before the service began.

We conversed with a few people and sat down.  Then she came in.  Before I knew her, I knewShe was the reason You had sent us to this particular church this morning.  She was young, maybe thirty-something?  A young daughter at her side.  And she wore The Scarf.  The Scarf I had worn, though mine was a different design.  Different design, same purpose.  To cover up her bald head.  A pink scarf.  Pink… for breast cancer.

There were about 20 people there.  They are expecting a new pastor next Sunday.  The guest pastor today had retired from this church some time ago.  His message was meant to be encouraging, but his countenance was one of discouragement.  He asked questions like, “Why are there no children here?  Why are there no young families here?  Why are there only 20+ people here when there used to be 80?”  He said, “You think the church is dying.  Maybe we’ve lost the spark.  But there’s still life here.  I know you can do it.”  Even he didn’t sound convinced.

But I knew why You had sent me there, Lord.  You sent me to a dear sister who is traveling through the Valley of the Shadow — a place where truly there is LIFE, because YOU are there!

“You make known to me the path of life, You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”  (Psalm 16:11)

The service had started, so I knew I wouldn’t speak with her until it was over.  But You made it clear I would speak with her.  Halfway through the service, You made something else clear:

I was also to give her a GIFT.

This gift is one I have treasured for a long time.  The gift — a bracelet, given to me by two people I love dearly — is not expensive.  But it is a treasure for so many reasons.  The love of those who gave it to me.  The encouraging words inscribed on it:  “God is the source of my strength and hope.  I am healed.”  The little angel charm hanging down, wearing the unmistakable pink ribbon.  I have worn this bracelet almost every day since I received it.  A precious reminder of Your priceless Love and Grace poured out so abundantly in my life.

So I wasn’t really surprised when, halfway through the service, You whispered to me that I was to give her this precious bracelet… so she, too, would be reminded of Your priceless Love and Grace.  A Gift from You, through a “stranger” who is really no stranger, but a sister in her Forever Family.

Our “encounter” after the service was as beautiful as I knew it would be.  She was so grateful I had reached out to her.  She is just five months into her journey.  Chemo is shrinking the tumor, so her upcoming surgery may enable her to keep most of “herself” intact. We compared notes and exchanged contact info so I could continue to encourage her.  And then I gave her The Gift.  And her eyes filled with tears as she hugged me.

[Deep sigh.]  I look down at my bare wrist tonight, Lord.  It looks a little empty without that bracelet I treasured.  But my heart is FULL as I reflect on what really happened today.  You are the real treasure, Lord.  And today, You gave me a priceless gift… to be part of a not-so-random act of kindness, prompted and orchestrated totally by Your Love — passionate, abundant, poured out, overflowing, unmistakable, undeniable, irresistible.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again… again you will… go out to dance with the joyful.”  (Jeremiah 31:3-4)

Rejoicing as my cup runneth over,

Abba’s Girl

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