We’d been planning for years and finally the day arrived. My cousin and I were headed to Bethel Church in Redding, California. We’re both part of Bethel’s on-line community. The Carr Fire in California has been so horrible, yet gratefully even the fires near Redding did not cause a change in our trip dates, our desires or our plans. It was a go!
We flew from our perspective locations and met in Phoenix. Once we hugged at the gate we knew the fun had begun! “It’s good to see you I’m so excited!” I told Annie. We stood in line at the airport Starbucks and rattled away and giggled a bunch too.
While we were first together there in Phoenix, we prayed.
We’ve been praying for years. But that day, seated in the airport, we thanked God for safety and for being together and prayed “God give us divine appointments.”
You know how once you pray something your awareness is boosted a little bit more because you’re looking for what you’ve just asked of God?
Well both Annie and I were in heightened awareness mode. I boarded the plane first and secured my seat and Annie was going to join me.
I always pick an aisle so I can get up and go to the bathroom she came in and sat in the middle seat.
Annie blurted out quickly, “I just heard a lady say ‘Redding’ so I spoke with her briefly. I figured we are probably both headed to Bethel.” She chuckled.
No sooner had she told me when the woman came down the aisle and they visited for a minute. Then she asked, “Could I just sit with you guys in this row? I may as well take this window seat! ”
“SURE!” We answered in unison.
She sat near the window and explained why she was going where she was going. She told us she was flying to Sacramento because her daughter was going to be attending a school out in Northern California and she was going to meet her there and get her settled in a bit.
We asked her where the school was located and she told us Bethel Church in Redding. We quickly replied “Oh, we’re going to Bethel Church this weekend. That’s the purpose of our trip.” I introduced myself, “I’m Rachel.”
She said, “I’m Jill.” She later mentioned her husband and her daughter were traveling from Michigan all the way across country to Redding. “But I told them, guys…I’m gonna just fly out. That’s a long way-I’ll fly and meet you.”
During the course of the conversation we found out things about one another and then I asked, “Could I pray for you?”
“Absolutely!” She replied.
The three of us agreed together in prayer. We prayed for protection as Jill’s husband and daughter traveled across country. We prayed for her daughter’s ease of transition in going to this new school far away.
I prayed for Jill’s “mama’s heart” I know what it’s like to miss a daughter, so I prayed for her as she said goodbye to her daughter in the next few days. I don’t remember the rest of the prayer but that was pretty much the gist of it.
We visited the duration of the flight and then we didn’t see her again. It was as if she were “POOF” gone!
We secured our rental car, decided who would drive and who would navigate, strapped on our seatbelts, logged our destination in the GPS and headed to Redding.”Phew it’s warm in here!” we agreed. “Let’s start the air conditioner.” Then we snapped a photo and peeled away!
We traveled awhile and decided to stop for lunch. My cousin Annie, had never been to California so she wanted the experience of IN and OUT Burger. I mainly eat a plant-based diet so I spotted a Panda Express just down from the IN and OUT.
“Can you find somethin’ to eat here?” She inquired.
“Not really.” I pointed. I’m going to head over to that Panda Express, grab some veggies and noodles and meet you back here. We can sit outside on the patio.”
“Sounds good,” She said.
I ordered my carry-out quickly, exited the restaurant swinging my white carton of food in its plastic bag and was going to meet Annie.
Just then, our new friend Jill came walking out of Starbucks which was next to the Panda Express.
I took one look at her, and said, “Oh, my! Well hello again!” We hugged and visited for a few minutes. I found out that she got her rental car and that she was safe and was making her trek north. “Well, isn’t it funny running into you here at lunch?
“I’ve just eaten at Panda Express, so now I’m grabbing a coffee for the road. God is good!”‘Jill reported.
“Great! Well, who knows, maybe we will see you at Bethel Church on Sunday!” I said. And walked away.
I thought that was the punchline. So odd to see someone again and be able to encourage them and laugh together. Timely encounters.
We continued our jaunt north. We had the address of our Airbnb logged into Google maps. “We are almost there!” Annie exclaimed.
We were both so excited as the GPS was giving our final directives. We pulled up to the row of condominiums, double checked the address to confirm, as the phone said, “Arrived at your destination.”
I opened my door, felt the heat and smelled the smoke, stepped onto the sidewalk nearest the condo and looked up.
“What?” I clapped my hands together and exclaimed simultaneously, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” There was Jill!
I stood frozen for a second.
Our new friend from Michigan walked toward me. I looked up to see a man, her husband, carrying hanging clothes draped over his arms and a young woman, her beautiful daughter, holding a box. They were moving in!
Jill approached me and started talking super fast, “I couldn’t believe it, I went up to my daughter’s room and the room adjacent to it had a sign on the Airbnb door that read, ‘Welcome Annie and Rachel.’
I stood looking at the sign dumbfounded thinking, ‘are these the ladies I just met on the flight that I was seated next to on the airplane? These ladies are my daughter’s weekend roommates?!?’
God calmed my mama heart with his attention to detail. He brought people from the Midwest to meet me on the plane to stay in the house with my daughter during her first weekend here. I couldn’t believe it! That’s so good of God!”
She was raving and gleeful…we ALL were.
We entered the air conditioned condo and introduced ourselves to her husband. I’m sure he was spinning…three woman were all jabbering at once trying to explain the story of our divine appointment to him.
We tried to recount the story so we could tell it to Jill’s daughter. “We met your mom on the airplane today she said ‘Redding’…blah, blah, blah.”
I ascended the steps and confirmed the whole deal; our room was adjacent to her daughter’s room. “No way!”
We had prayed for the transition of Jill’s daughter as she went off to school in Redding, California and there she was right before our eyes. Her eyes sparkling as she smiled and said, “Nice to meet you guys!”
Over the course of our extended weekend, we saw them again in passing between the services as they were in line for coffee.
“You guys should try MiMi Grace for breakfast. I tried it last time I visited before I decided to come here for school.”
We had to try it because we both like avacado toast and it was called Mimi Grace…my daughter is Grace.
We had prayed for months but this is just ONE of the divine appointments we had along the way. I could share so many more. “God-incidences” But this one will have to do for now.
God is the kindest person I know. He delights to delight my heart. I’m convinced of it. This made me have a perm-a-grin.
What are the ways God has been showing up in the little details of your life? Do you have a devine appointment you’d like to share?
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10 NIV
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Psalm 32:8 NIV
“all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16 b NIV