When I’m on my skates, things happen. Spiritual things. Not anything super weird or freaky. Just God’s voice speaking. Prompting. Convicting.
This past Monday was an unseasonably warm winter day here in the Ozarks. I took advantage of the sunshine by heading out to one of my favorite local trails. After about 15 minutes, I passed a young woman and immediately noticed her posture. Her head was slightly lowered, with her eyes staring at the ground. Her body language shouted, “I’m so sad!”
I skated on. A distant memory surfaced from last July. The same trail. Rollerblading. A young woman.
Something else caught my attention, and I moved on to the next train of thought. Then, during my final mile, I saw her again. This time she was sitting on a bench. Same slumped posture. Same sad gaze.
I sensed that God wanted me to stop and talk to her. Yet, I struggled with knowing if that “sense” was really from Him. I said aloud, “God, how do I know it’s you? How can I be sure?”
I needed a visible sign and decided to “put out a fleece” like Gideon did in Judges 6. Therefore, my plan was this: If the woman was still seated when I passed the bench a second time, I would stop. If not, then I wouldn’t.
When I came to the turnaround point on the trail, I skated back in her direction. I saw the bench. I saw her on it. As I got closer, though, I saw her getting up! I decided to go for it anyway. I said, “This may sound really strange, but I feel like the Lord wants me to tell you something. He wants you to know He loves you.”
She stopped abruptly, gave me a puzzled, almost angry look, and said with a thick accent, “You LOVE me? What the h— is that all about?”
“No, no!” I said, seeing her confusion as result of the language barrier. “God loves you. He wants you to know He sees your sadness, and He loves you.”
Then, she understood. She relaxed. She listened.
As I looked into her eyes, I also understood. The flashback from last summer came at me again, this time in full force. The young woman who approached me last July was the same woman standing before me. That day I had missed an opportunity to share Christ’s love with her. I had turned my back on a divine appointment. Yet, in God’s great mercy, He had answered my prayer for another chance. Little did I know, though, that the second chance would not be with another stranger, but with the very one He had sent my way the first time.
I was overwhelmed. All I could do was say, “Thank you, God,” as I talked with my new friend from Bulgaria.
(To read about my initial encounter, read Divine Appointment.)