I've recently been specifically seeking to be more sensitive to the Spirit's leading and God's voice in my daily life and this past Wednesday turned out to be pretty exciting for me. The day started with me teetering on the fence about going to a MeetUp for photographers at a wind mill farm just outside of the city. It was quite a-ways out for me and from what I could see online there wasn't much to it, but I felt I should go because, hey, how can the Lord use me if I don't "go"?
Turned out to be a pretty simple event. There were just 3 of use ladies that showed up and we quickly discovered there wasn't much to see at the Lookout Platform. Still, we stayed nearly 90 minutes talking about cameras and shooting, etc. It was pleasant, but uneventful in my mind.
While I was near the city I planned to do my grocery shopping next, but I decided to grab a bit to eat first. I don't usually go inside a fast food place alone, but I felt it would be a good idea. As I headed to the counter I was greeted with "Hi! How are you!?" from a complete stranger who acted like we were old friends. He was an employee there, and he ended up chatting with me a bit while I ate and he cleaned. It stood out like a sore-thumb that my meal totaled up to $7.77. I felt like it was a little note from the Lord saying "I'm here" and I took it as a confirmation that I'd been listening. I thanked God for sending someone bubbly into my day.
I was feeling pretty good about that little encounter and really wasn't expecting much else (except for healing of the headache that came on me). I started feeling icky and almost changed my mind about groceries, but I felt compelled, "I need to do this today." I didn't need to pick up a whole lot so I wasn't going to be in the store very long. However, while I was there an announcement was made that momentarily there was going to be a give-away just a few aisles from were I was. Free stuff? Sure, I'll check it out. It was a kitchenware demonstration and I spent about 15 minutes or so standing there watching before moving on thinking "I don't cook, why am I standing here?" I finished my shopping and headed to my car.
"I don't cook, why am I standing here?"
I greeted the man and shook his hand, met his family and asked what kind of help they needed. He began speaking in broken English saying that they really needed gas for their van. I was going to go get a gas card and bring it back, but with the language barrier I ended up riding with him (and his son sleeping in the back) around the corner and just filling it up. We got to talking and I found out that Florin and his family were from Romania and were making their way to Chicago where other Romanians were established that could help them. I believe they had left Europe about 18 months ago. When he said he was from Romania I just knew that I was right where God wanted me that day.
As the gas pumped I told him I'd been to Romania and seen it's beautiful country and met it's lovely people. I mentioned Bucharest and he said that's where he's from. He spoke of the poverty there caused by poor government and how it was just impossible to care for his family any longer. He spoke with love for his people, saying that they have a low crime rate and no drug abuse or other things of that nature so it was sad to leave. I grabbed my receipt and we headed back to the parking lot. Before I said goodbye I remembered that I had learned how to sing "This Is The Day" in Romanian so I tried to repeat it to him best I could. He laughed with me as I gave it a go. That was one of my best memories from that trip in 2002.
Needless to say, as I drove home, I felt great! I starting thinking of how everything came together for me to be there at the right moment. What if I had stayed home? What if I hadn't stopped for lunch? Or gone inside? What if I had missed the store's give-away announcement and wasn't delayed. I wasn't in that store very long, which mean Florin and his family had to have just arrived at that corner because they weren't there when I arrived. If the timing had been any different I could have missed them. I could have missed God. What a thrill!!
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!! After getting home and putting away the groceries and mulling around a bit, I sat at my desk where I had laid the receipts from the day. Not knowing what the gas had cost I picked up the receipt to check. $55.11. I thought, wow, they really were out of gas! Then as I was looking at the numbers 55 11, I heard the word 'Isaiah', so I opened up and read. And then I laughed with watery eyes.
So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.