We had come to Alabama for a wedding and I needed a manicure. I hated to bring it up because Larry was anxious to get on to Cottondale for the dress rehearsal later that afternoon. But I hadn't had my nails done in months and wanted them to look presentable. Besides, what was another half hour. The Escort was on empty, we'd planned to fill up at a particular gas station heading out of town. But because I had a preference for a particular nail place in another part of Prattville, we'd be leaving by a different way. Larry dropped me off and headed to the Pace Car just up a block or so. And that's where the story gets interesting.
I love the commercial where the guy at the train station sees the girl across the way, their eyes meet, and using his cell phone quickly buys a ticket for the same train as hers. It not only changes the course of his life but the country's as well. They marry and their child grows up to become President of the United States. A chance meeting, an impulse decision and it changes the course of everything. It reminds me that what we often carelessly term as life's coincidences aren't that at all. An event or encounter that seems random to us may actually have been designed ahead of time.
Back to the gas station. Larry had just finished filling up when he heard someone call his name. Across the road from Pace Car is the lube place where he always took our cars when it was time for an oil change. The guys had gotten to know him pretty well over the years, he knew several of them by name. He looked up. It was William, the owner of the place. Larry trotted over and shook hands with him. They talked for a minute or two and then William said, "I've got a guy from up north working for me now. We call him Yank." "Really," Larry responded. "I'd like to meet him. Get him out here." So William hollered and a young guy in his mid twenties emerged from the garage.
One of my favorite Bible passages is in Ephesians where Paul calls me God's workmanship created for the purpose of doing good works for others. What's really cool is that these things are already planned, an itinerary so to speak, laid out by the Father with situations and encounters meant only for me. I'm not always aware of how this is playing out through my life as I walk this journey. There's a lot I can't see. But sometimes He lets me catch more than a glimpse of His working out the details through me, and when He does, it totally blows me away.
Back to Yank. His real name is Brandon and it turns out he's from New York just like us. "So where are you from in New York?" Larry asked. "Elmira," was the reply. This whole thing was getting weirder by the minute. "Really?" Larry wasn't quite believing where this conversation was going. "That's where I live." Brandon told him what part of the city he'd grown up in and Larry told him where the church is that he pastors. "Yeah, I know where that is," Brandon continued. "If you turn right at the church and then turn another right, that's where my grandmother lives." Larry didn't skip a beat. "Oh, you're talking about Charles Street. That's where I live."
Brandon had already called his grandmother to tell her about the encounter he'd had a thousand miles from home with the pastor who just happens to live on Charles Street. So when we knocked on her door that first time, I think she was expecting us. As a matter of fact I paid her another visit this week., and she seemed pleased that I'd come. She's been having trouble with her feet and has a son with cancer so I asked if I could pray for her before I left. She didn't seem to mind. I'm still not sure what all of this means. Like I said, there's a lot we can't see. But one thing I know for sure is that I have a new octogenarian friend that I probably wouldn't have met otherwise. I also know that there is Someone who's been working all this out for a purpose and I don't want to miss out on my part. After all, this is the kind of stuff I've been created for.