When Chance Becomes Purpose

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It was one of those days when I was out for an appointment and realized on my way home that I needed to pick up just two items from a grocery store. I can sometimes grumble when I recognize I need to do something like that after an appointment because all I want to do is go home.

 

But I was going to drive right past my favorite grocery store so picking up those  two items now made sense since I needed one of them to prepare dinner. I knew exactly where those items were located in the store so I could make this a very quick stop and when I drove into the parking lot it looked like it wouldn’t be too busy.

 

In no time at all I had both items in my hands and was rounding the corner of an aisle to head to the checkout aisle when I noticed a department manager unpacking some boxes. She had helped me in times past in making a selection, but I had never known her name. It was really by chance I noticed her since many times I am in the store and don’t see her.

 

As I got closer to where she was working, I felt nudged to stop and tell her how much I appreciated her and the help she offered me at other times. For less than a split second I almost continued speeding by, but then chose to stop to tell her since no other customers were nearby.

 

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When I expressed my appreciation to her, her face registered surprise. She thanked me and went on to share that she often doesn’t feel appreciated by the management of the store for all that she does. As I stood listening without rushing on, she went on to share she was getting ready to leave because her blood pressure was spiking and she wanted to go home.

 

She shared that she would be leaving her position by the end of the year to retire as a result of some significant health issues that might be cancer. These issues were so stressful that it had resulted in very erratic blood pressure and more than a few trips to the emergency room because of that. She said she loved the customers she helped and was concerned the store management would not choose a replacement that would show that level of care for the people she helped.

 

As I continued to listen and noted her nametag, I began to silently pray for her. I thanked her for sharing this with me and told her I would check on her the next time I was in the store, but wouldn’t hold her up when she needed to leave.

 

A chance encounter became a purpose.

 

As I walked out of the store with my two items, I wondered how often I have missed noticing someone, stopping, and discovering why I felt nudged to do so. It reminded me of something I had just read in Lisa Wingate’s book, Larkspur Cove:

 

“Stop looking ahead. Stop looking back. Stop. Look around.”

 

No, I didn’t tell her I would pray for her nor feel nudged to do that. What I felt nudged to do was to allow her to know I heard her. That was the most immediate need for someone who seemed to feel unseen and perhaps unappreciated. I could have said it despite not knowing if she was a Christian, but I sensed that what she most needed was not to have me draw attention to my faith and focus on caring for her heart.

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A few days later I was in the store and saw this woman again. I made a point to go speak to her and call her by name as I asked her how she was feeling. She seemed surprised to have a customer call her by name and noted she was feeling a bit better and would be finishing her shift soon. I told her I was thinking about her and would see her again soon.

 

I also went online to the store website and wrote a letter to the top management about what an outstanding job this woman does and how she has helped me many times. I expressed an awareness that she had some health issues and I hoped that if she ever needed to be replaced that they would look for someone just like her.

 

Today I received an email back from the main office thanking me for being in touch about this employee. The person who wrote it said my comments and commendations would be passed on to the store manager and noted they have a program to commend employees for outstanding customer service such as the woman I wrote about.

 

Am I, are you, so busy rushing through each day that we miss chance meetings that have a purpose we cannot begin to imagine?

 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

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31 thoughts on “When Chance Becomes Purpose

  1. This kind of reminds me of a friend of mine, sort of. Whenever she goes thru a fast food restaurant she pays it forward and buys a meal for the car behind her, recognizing that not everyone has it as good as she does. Thanks so much for linking up at the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty 44. Shared.

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful testimony. I call those moments “the urge to push”, when there is nothing that can stop it, but you feel compelled to do what is being spoken to your heart. Your obedience blessed this woman beyond measure. And although there was no mention of the Lord, like the book of Esther, your impact upon her, I am sure, will work upon her heart in unseen ways. The Lord redeems everything, including chance encounters.

    1. Thanks, Karen! I love how you refer to these. I actually have looked for this woman each time I am in that store (even if I don’t need to shop in her department). I saw her yesterday and stopped to greet her and ask how she was doing. She told me that her cluster migraines had stopped for the past 2 weeks even though she still was experiencing other health issues. Even this was a great relief to her. I told her I was so glad and had been thinking about her and praying for her. She thanked me and smiled. I wonder what the Lord is up to next?🥰

  3. I love this!!! divine encounters are all around us, every day. We just need to look for them and listen to that still, small voice that nudges us toward the divine. Beautiful!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    1. Amen, Patsy!! I am sure I have missed more than a few in my lifetime and this one reminded me that I don’t want to miss any more. It actually costs so little in time and effort to be Jesus with skin on for others and you never know what that other person might be going through. I actually saw her again yesterday (I now look for her even if I am not going to her department.) and she told me her cluster migraines are better. I told her I have been thinking about her and praying for her.💝

  4. your post is a reminder to me to stop and thank a person at my local CVS who takes the time to help me find whatever it is I’m looking for. I know how much it means to me when someone tells me something I wrote helped them, so why not put that feel-good moment onto someone else.

  5. It’s so true that people want to be seen and heard. I can doubt that I’ll make a difference if I take a moment to acknowledge someone, however that doubting means I’ve centred in on myself again instead of the other! Thanks for inspiring me to pay attention to those who serve me in my regular places like the grocery store. You make a difference!

    1. Yes, and it seems that as we have all gotten busier and more preoccupied with our electronic devices, we notice people less often than ever. Eye contact is becoming a lost art.

      This story reinforced for me the value of doing what I did this time and nudged me to do that more often. There are so many places where people are working where I can be tempted to expect a lot and not even say “Thank you” as often as I should…clerks, cashiers, etc. Thanks for your kind words about making a difference! I want the Lord to make a difference through me as well as in me❤️

  6. I’m so bad about this. It’s a lot more comfortable to rush through my day without having to talk to a bunch of people, but I know that’s not what God wants of me. I’m so glad you answered those gentle promptings to meet her needs.

    1. I think we are all in a rush a great deal of the time. What I shared here was a great reinforcer to remind me to never be moving so quickly that I don’t take time to hear Him and obey. Thanks for your comments.🌻

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