Photo by Will Stewart
        on Unsplash

As I prepared to head out for my walk/run routine, a nagging feeling in my heart said to change my plans for my route. Instead of leaving my house and going into the neighboring neighborhood as planned, I got in my car and drove to the trails close to my house. It was a gorgeous day in the middle of November, warm and sunny, and just a slight breeze. It was a perfect day to be out on the trails! I set off listening to my “run” playlist as I went. This is my “think” time. My time to listen to the direction that God had for me in my writing. What happened though was a constant whisper of names of people that God was placing on my heart. I began to pray for each one and wondered what might be happening in their life. I thought of the people that God had me minister to in the past and how they had, in fact, blessed me. “Isn’t it just like Jesus to send someone in your time of need to comfort,” I thought?

So many times King David had mentioned that his soul was downcast, that he had felt like his life was being swallowed up by the hard circumstances of life. However, in Psalm 101:6 he says “My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.” It was important to David to surround himself with people who were godly, people who would come alongside and encourage him to keep his faith in God. God doesn’t keep those who believe in Him from suffering. But He does provide His grace to strengthen and uphold them in times of suffering and great need. God created us to be in community with each other, and often times His grace comes in the form of a compassionate friend. David’s best friend was Jonathan, King Saul’s son. They were like brothers. When Saul’s jealousy of David consumed his life, it was Jonathan who ministered to David. It was his friend who looked out for him, helped him escape the threats of his own father. What a friend! How many times had God allowed me to be “Jonathan” to others in my life? I was thinking about this when on my path, I turned a corner to go across a bridge, and there, standing, looking out over the water, was a gentleman that I used to work with. I slowed, removed my earbuds, stopped my watch and said “hello.” I had not seen him in a very long time, but within minutes we had discovered that God had orchestrated a divine appointment. This gentleman told me how his wife had died the year before and her birthday was just a few days ago and the anniversary of her death was upon him. His heart was heavy and he was having a hard day.

For an hour we stood, leaning on the rail overlooking the water, and talked of life, love, loss, and Jesus. We both brandished tears at times and shared joys of knowing God’s provisions. By the time we were done, we both had known this was a divine appointment. God had orchestrated each of our days so that our paths would cross. I was supposed to have an appliance repair guy at my house at that time, but earlier in the morning, they called to reschedule because their truck broke down. My schedule for the day suddenly became open. My friend had mentioned that he wasn’t going to come to the trails that day, but at the last minute decided he really wanted to. It was something he and his wife used to do together. What an amazing way to experience God! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.” When you walk in a community of Christ-followers, you have instant companions! When difficult life circumstances hit, it is overwhelming to face it alone, it’s hard to stand by yourself. As a community though, we can find support and comfort, and encouragement that flows from Jesus through our fellow brothers and sisters.

My friend walked away with his spirit uplifted. I walked away being so incredibly blessed to have been used by God to bring comfort and encouragement to a hurting soul. Are your eyes open to divine appointments? Do you see the opportunity but brush it off because you are too busy? Oh, the blessings you will miss! Seek to be a person who is willing to accept and join Jesus in bringing joy to a broken heart. Let us be the person who helps another to “draw near to the throne of grace, that they may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16), for one day, it may be you that requires the comfort and encouragement of someone sent by the Comforter Himself.

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