Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chance Encounter or Divine Appointment?

It was several months ago that I found myself seated on an airplane next to a young Marine that was making his way back to DC through Chicago. It was a regional jet and pretty full. This particular young man was separated from the rest of his party by several rows and ended up in the window seat next to me. At some point I noticed that he was reading a book about dating/relationships/marriage or something along those lines. It looked to me like it was put out by Zondervan Press.

We began a conversation that began with his relationship with his girlfriend and moved to his relationship with God. I was very much impressed by how he truly wanted to honor God in his relationship, his work and his life. Like many of us, Michael was still trying to figure out just where God was going use him and how God was going to use him. I enjoyed our short encounter, offer him some words of encouragement and prayed with him before we arrived in Chicago. We exchanged phone numbers, e-mail addresses and promised to pray for each other.

I think that we often have encounters with others and never get to know that we may have had some small impact on their lives. Maybe it's best that way. Maybe our encounters leave the other person less than they were before. Maybe we managed to suck a little joy, a little life out of them. (see previous post) Then again, maybe we need to hear about those encounters--to learn from them.

Today, several months after my initial encounter with Michael, I arrived home to a message on my answering machine. It was from Michael. He's going to be in the area and wants to get together if we can. I called him back right away. He told me of how God is speaking to him and through him. We talked of a group bible study that he's hooked up with, working with kids at church, and how he has written a few songs to worship God. He remembered many of the things that we talked about said that he was encouraged by our previous conversation. By the time I hung up from our conversation today, I was the one encouraged. I was so energized to hear of how this young man is so devoted to serving God. I was also a little pumped up that he wanted to get together and spend some time with a guy that's old enough to be his dad.

Joy Management. Michael's already got it figured out. I guess conversations with him will have to be a part of my book research. Michael, you made my day. Thanks.


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