The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
Have you ever praised God for a rain storm in a foreign country? Andy likely asked “why” when God left him soaked to the bone for hours in Tapachula, Mexico in 1981. That had not been part of the plan. Andy probably didn’t even exchanged words with the one of many Discipleship Training School students that soppy day with whom, years later, would be his partner in a divine appointment . Each man had places to go, ministry to do. Both men served in YWAM and crossed paths in the midst of a literal storm. A bright sunny day wouldn’t have been as memorable; standing in the rain for 10 minutes wouldn’t have been as memorable. It took two hours of downpour to saturate the memories of these two men. God was preparing them for a divine appointment decades later.
That is how God works. He is in the moments that we seem to overlook or resent. He is always working, always orchestrating the circumstances and coordinating the details for a divine appointment, even if it is to occur years down the line.
Let’s ask ourselves: are we available to water the seeds that were planted years, or even decades earlier? Being attentive in the present, having margin in our schedule, and resisting preconceived assumptions about who and what God might use, are important keys to recognizing divine appointments.
Sometimes it can feel like we need a break from being “on”. Speaking engagements and public ministry can drain our capacity for spontaneous encounters. Yes, we all need some downtime, but being present enough to recognize the appointments that God has scheduled for us can make a huge difference in our ministry. Decades after that memorable rainstorm, Andy and the now prosperous inventor and businessman, Brian, stepped aboard a common flight both heading to Salem, Oregon. The former student offered a cold shoulder and didn’t attempt to hide his disappointment with his downgraded seat. That might have turned another passenger off, but Andy engaged him anyway.
As tempting as it is to schedule every available moment, that is the quickest way to miss a divine appointment. Rushing through the grocery store, squeezing in some reading on a flight, or booking back-to-back appointments will leave us with little margin for the “chance” encounters. Resist the urge to be efficient all the time; sometimes, just be available. God used these two men’s own words to confirm that their meeting was anything but chance. Through casual conversation Brian spoke the very words that Andy had written in preparation for his upcoming talk. When Andy opened his notebook, there were the words Brian had just spoken: “Forget the past and press on.” Both men instantly knew that this was their Divine Appointment. Andy identified it because he was familiar with how the Lord works: “Isn’t it awesome how God reconnects His kids!”
Sometimes God wants to connect us to a potential donor with deep pockets or a church leader primed for the next ministry to support. He may cross your paths with a lonely, hurting soul who needs encouragement or needs to know the Savior. It is important that we be watching for those obvious moments, but also that we be watching for whatever form the encounter may take. But sometimes, God has plans to bless us with encouragement from another believer we’ve never met before. When we have an open mind about how God may work we are more likely to attend His divine appointments.
Then Andy boldly asked, “What would it take for you to invest in the kingdom since God is blessing you?” This was Brian’s invitation to respond. In His wisdom God had orchestrated the circumstances years before, providentially coordinated the details of their encounter that day, and clearly confirmed that it was much more than a coincidence. For both men, this was a Divine Appointment.
The encouragement Susie spoke to Andy as he prepared to board his flight is a message to all of us: “I believe you’re going to have a divine appointment. Be sensitive to the Lord….”
Now, how about you?