My husband was getting ready to pump gas for me at the local QT when we noticed an older model Toyota Forerunner pull in, park near one of the store entrances, with a middle-aged gentleman getting out to go inside. Our youngest son has been looking for a used vehicle to purchase and is interested in a Forerunner, so this vehicle caught our attention.
As I observed the driver, I mentioned to my husband, “Oh, I think I know that guy, I think he’s married to one of my friends.” Not thinking much more about it, my husband got out and began pumping gas. When he was finished, the pump was out of paper and so he headed inside to retrieve a receipt for the sale. Apparently while inside, my husband ended up in line with the Forerunner driver and they began chatting. Keep in mind that all this time, my husband thinks I know this man. Their conversation continued as they both made their way outside and as they exited the store, my husband pointed towards our vehicle and started walking towards me WITH this gentleman.
As they got closer, I realized very quickly that I did NOT know this man and had actually never seen him before! To make matters worse, I did not have time to communicate this ‘mistaken identity’ to my husband. I thought to myself, “This is going to be awkward.” Yet, I decided to roll with it and just nod my head and smile. The man approached the vehicle and I rolled down the window. He said, “Oh ya, I remember you!” I was thinking to myself, "No, you don’t even know me and I have no idea who you are!" My husband was just chatting away and I sat there.
Then came the moment when I realized WHY we were there and why God had put THIS MAN in our path that day, through the means of a ‘mistaken identity’. WE may not have known this gentleman, but God DID and God also knew exactly what he needed at that particular moment in his life. You see in the midst of the conversation, my husband revealed that he is a Chaplain by vocation. This revelation stopped the gentleman in his tracks. He commented on just how incredible the timing was as he said, “I just left the doctor’s office and I have been diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and I do not have many months to live. The doctor will do all he can to keep me comfortable.” With tears welling up in his eyes, he revealed that he was a Christian and his prayer was that he could live to see his daughter finish a graduate degree. My husband and I asked if we could pray with him and he obliged. So right there, in the QT parking lot beside a gas pump, we held hands with a total stranger and prayed over him a prayer for strength, guidance, and comfort.
God is perfect and His TIMING is perfect. In the book of Ecclesiastes, we are reminded, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (see 3:1). God knows exactly WHAT we need and exactly WHEN we need it. Peter writes emphatically that we can trust God with our problems and concerns when he writes, “Casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you” (see 1 Peter 5:7). And sometimes, ya’ll, God allows complete strangers to carry out His work.
So, my friends, be reminded that God is at work DAILY and we need to be on alert for opportunities around us. Jesus emphasizes one of the most important things we can do, which requires making ourselves available, and that is to, “love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (see John 13:34). We are called to be His hands and His feet to a hurting world.
After all, TIMING is everything.