The thing about divine appointments is you don’t get a reminder call or a postcard in the mail like you do for dentist appointments. God just kind of springs them on you when you are seemingly unprepared and unsuspecting.
I was recently inducted into the all-exclusive Facebook page “30 Days of Hustle” created by the talented Jon Acuff. My friend nominated me to be a member, and after a short waiting period, in which I’m sure Mr. Acuff conducted a background check and office surveillance, I was approved. Since I tend to stick to a goal when there is some accountability, I decided to shoot for a goal that I have not been successful reaching on my own, photographing churches for a future project. I gave myself the lofty goal of photographing at least 25 churches within 30 days. On the same day (yesterday) my wellness exercise coach gave me the goal of walking after work for half an hour. I accepted reluctantly, but figured I could lump the two goals together and take photos while walking in the neighborhood.
Throwing on my sneakers I strutted out the door, proud of myself that I’m taking the leap on not just one goal, but two. As I photographed the second church I saw out of the corner of my eye a young woman hesitantly approaching the front door. I turned to her and asked, “Are you waiting on me?” “Uh, yeah,” she replied. “Do you know if it’s open?” I stood up from kneeling and pointed at the church across the street, “They are usually open on Wednesday. I’ll walk you over.”
As we approached we realized that the church front doors were not, in fact, open, so we went around back. Finally we sneaked in through a propped door after the choir director told us it was closed. The young woman told me she had never seen a Christian church sanctuary. I explained the cross and why Christian churches generally don’t have statues or images of God in them, and that the Bible tells us that a church is a group of people who share the same belief in Jesus. I told her that she and I would make up a “church” if we both believed. Church is not about the building.
This conversation led to many personal, deep topics that she was struggling with. We laughed and shared about personal experiences. Before I knew it an hour and a half had passed, and day was quickly turning into night. As she gathered her belongings I asked if I could pray for her. Surprisingly she asked if she could pray for me as well, and then shared that she had never prayed. I asked if I could put my hand on her shoulder and she agreed, and as I prayed I felt the connection we had made and the Holy Spirit there in that church courtyard we had moved to. When I finished she said she wanted to try praying aloud for me. She gently placed her hand on my shoulder and started, “Dear God…” As she finished with “thank you” in the place of “Amen” we giggled and hugged each other. She shared that she was more at peace, and was happy we met. I gave her my phone number, and we walked out the gate together, an unlikely pair now bonded by this walk to remember.
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