Forty one years ago today was a Sunday. I remember it clearly. Life changing events do that. Somehow we remember every detail from events that changed everything decades ago, but forget what we had for breakfast this morning.
Forty one years ago for me found me as the minister of evangelism as a growing church in Arkansas. A college friend of mine had asked me to come and help him with the church and I was glad to take a break before going to seminary. So here I was, at the end of a worship service on a Sunday morning forty one years ago.
David had just finished his sermon and given an invitation for those who wanted to trust Christ. My "job" (it was more fun than anything else) was to meet and pray with those who wanted to become believers and followers of Christ.
On that Sunday morning forty one years ago today a beautiful young lady came down the aisle to make a decision for Christ. I remember her pretty face, her long dark hair. But I was there to help her with her decision. We talked, prayed together and then, as we closed the service, we all held hands and sang a closing chorus together. It was a weekly tradition. I remember that petite little hand. It seemed so small.
But we never know whether a meeting is just an encounter that passes and we move on, forgetting the person and the conversation or if it's a life changing event we will never forget.
I have held that hand now for forty one years and it feels just as wonderful as it did that first day. She tells friends today that she met Jesus and me on the same day, but she never gets us confused. Everyone laughs. (It is easy to tell us apart because I'm much taller than Jesus.)
There is no way to know how God orchestrates the events of our lives and takes chance encounters that become life altering events. This was a meeting like that for me. A day that looms big for two lives because God was in it and we didn't know it.
Less than three months later I waited for that sweet lady at the front of the church once more, but this time to be her husband. Forty one years later I will tell you I am the luckiest man in the world and am thankful for God's love for two young people whom he prepared to share life together.
Chance encounter or life changing event?
We never know, do we?
What will happen from each meeting, each encounter with someone new. Will we quickly forget them or will our lives be changed by the encounter? Don't ever treat any meeting lightly....you never know what God is up to.
For me, looking back on these events, I am most thankful for God's love for me that would bring such a wonderful friend and partner into my life on this day.....forty one years ago. I love you, Joye.