Divine Appointments

Elizabeth and John
God Keeps the Calendar
I’ve written before about our dear friend Elizabeth and her son John. Recently she announced that they would be relocating to her country of birth. Thrilled to learn they’d be passing through Southern California on their voyage, Rich and I  invited them to stay with us.
Elizabeth and John have many friends here, so I couldn’t monopolize their time. She said they’d like to visit us on Sunday and Monday and I eagerly agreed. We planned to pick them up from another friend’s house after the 11:15 service at church on Sunday. We usually attend at 9:00, but we wanted them to have the morning with their friends before we came to collect them.
Saturday evening she texted me to say that they wouldn’t be ready to leave the friend’s home until 3 o’clock, as her friend’s mother was coming for lunch. I was disappointed. Rich wanted to take John on a hike. We’d bought a stepping-stone kit so we could capture John’s little handprint before he moved away. And I wanted a long visit with Elizabeth while Rich and John were off doing manly outdoorsy things. I’m afraid my first response to her revealed my unhappiness at the change in plans.

As I thought about it I felt ashamed. I understood that they were moving far, far away and several people wanted a visit before they left. We agreed that we’d see them at 3 and I apologized for my earlier tone.

Rich and I decided to attend the 11:15 service all the same, so we could attend to some preparations at home before going to church that morning.
At the end of the service, Pastor Rick announced that he would be baptizing people after the service. Rich and I exchanged looks. We serve in the baptism ministry. Our church has dozens of pastors and one is scheduled to perform baptisms after every service, but many people prefer to be baptized by Pastor Rick, as they know him.
Due to the congregation’s fondness for him, usually when he baptizes people it’s well-marked on the baptism ministry sign-up sheet so extra hands can be made available to assist with the process. The schedule for Sunday had no special notation–this was a surprise!
After service we hurried to the baptismal. We found the two scheduled ministry members, the staff person who leads our ministry, and another “walk-on” volunteer like us. The line of people presenting themselves to be baptized was about seven times its usual length on a Sunday morning. Side by side, we all served together to assist in the process.
We were only there about 30 minutes, but that was enough time to get all the people registered for baptism.

If Elizabeth and John had been waiting for us, I would have been reluctant to stay and serve.

It always works out best when God keeps the calendar.

33 Teach me Your decrees, O Lord;
I will keep them to the end.

34 Give me understanding and I will obey Your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35 Make me walk along the path of Your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found.
Psalm 119:33-35 (NLT)