the bottomline

Our Plans Trumped by God
Saturday, September 5, 2020 by Dan Allen

I was seething. Our trip home from upstate New York included stopping at Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast. If we timed it correctly, we’d be there after the breakfast rush, but before the lunchers. When we entered the parking lot, however, it was clear there was no way we’d be staying. Restrictions from Covid pandemic have restaurants in this state at 50% capacity. Even with tables outside, there was a waiting list. It would be 40–minutes. We drove on.

We next decided to stop at a Chick Fil-A since it was close enough to lunch time. But the closest one we learned, because we drove there, was in the terminal of the Albany Airport. No way we could get in there. Disappointed, but thankful for Vonnie’s prescience (foresight), we ate some hard boiled eggs, beef jerky and trail mix.

By the time we reached PA, it would be close enough to dinner, certainly to beat the Friday evening crowd. We settled in on one of our favorites – Carrabba’s. After ordering, one of the servers came over to chat with us. It was before her shift, so she pulled up a chair. She’s a good sport and conversationalist. It turned out to be somewhat of an organ recital talking about some of the medical challenges Vonnie has had and what this server was experiencing. My hearing is not so good, but when I could finally get a word in edgewise, I stated that I was a doctor. “Oh,” she replied thinking she might get some free medical advice. “What kind of doctor?” “Well, not the kind you are thinking — I’m a doctor of divinity.” After she gave me that quizzical look – what in the world is that? – I explained in simple terms what it is. Well, her excitement over this would have made you thought I was the best doctor in the world. It turns out she’s a seeker—meaning, God’s been working in her life. She’s already attended a Bible Study; she’s doing some reading and praying; but not going to church. It’s obvious that the Lord is still working in her and, we believe, calling her to Himself. 

After she gave us a hug, which got her in trouble with her boss, and went onto her shift, Vonnie and I looked at each other — wow! What an opportunity. I’m quite sure it was Vonnie who noted this was a divine appointment. A divine appointment is when God puts together the circumstances at just the right time so that one can minister to another, often sharing the Good News. 

Now, had Cracker Barrel been able to accommodate us or had Chick-Fil-A been accessible with its long drive–through line, or any other delays like traffic jams, she would not have been able to talk with us. I would not have been able to give her one of my tracts: “Are You Sure?” And our, hopefully, ongoing contact with her would not have led us past her just her being a good server and the stupid jokes that I make with each server, like: “You’ve done such a good job for us. Too bad it’s no tip Friday.” You can use that, just change the day and then leave a good tip!

How about Proverbs 16:9 for this — The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. When God is in it, He may overrule our plans . . . all for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom. 

Pray for us as we make further contacts with “B” and that she will become a follower of Jesus.


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