By Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 NIV
One day my daughter Honor and I were walking through our neighborhood after a thunderstorm. We came across a baby robin that was loudly peeping at us in distress from a nest on a sidewalk. Apparently, the nest had fallen from a tree during the storm. The robin’s two siblings were dead. But the surviving bird persistently peeped at us and stared at us as if asking for help. Honor wanted to help the little robin, but I hesitated. My long to-do list flashed through my mind. I didn’t want to interrupt my busy schedule that day to figure out how to help. But the sound of Honor saying “please” over the sound of the bird’s “peep” was like beautiful music that touched my heart. Even though helping would be inconvenient, I knew I shouldn’t walk away from that robin.
It turned out that helping the robin took most of the day, because of complicated logistics involving transporting it to our local animal shelter, where a wildlife rehabilitator would treat it. I had to cancel most of my plans for that day. But even though I missed out on what I’d planned to do that day, I experienced an adventure that went beyond my expectations. I noticed the wonder of God’s work in many ways that day: I learned a lot about the wondrous way he had designed robins. I met one of my neighbors who helped us that day and discovered her caring work rescuing homeless cats and dogs (Honor began volunteering to help with that shortly afterward). Most importantly of all, I grew to become a more compassionate and patient person as I worked with others to offer kindness to that little bird.
That day hadn’t turned out as I’d planned, but it unfolded better than I’d expected. It was a divine appointment – an event that God orchestrated in order to accomplish good purposes for everyone involved.
Proverbs 16:9 NIV reminds us, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” We often make plans, set goals, and lay out our paths in life. Yet God may interrupt the course we plan at any time. Our plans are subject to God’s sovereign will. In order to accomplish his good purposes for us, God will sometimes bring divine appointments to us. Life is full of unexpected interruptions. But sometimes, these disruptions are more than just chance occurrences – they are divine appointments. Recognizing these moments and being willing to say “yes” to participate in them can lead to profound spiritual growth and blessings.
Divine appointments often come disguised as inconveniences, chance encounters, or sudden changes in plans. When we are attuned to God’s leading, we can discern his hands at work in these situations. Divine appointments may provide opportunities to listen to people, help them with practical needs, or encourage them in a vital way. These encounters can also lead us down paths we never anticipated, leading to new friendships, ministry opportunities, or a deeper understanding of God’s plan for our lives.
Saying “yes” to divine appointments requires hearts that are open to God’s leading and a willingness to set aside our own agendas when God calls. It means being available and responsive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, even when it inconveniences us. When we embrace these moments, we participate in God’s redemptive work in the lives of others and experience his transformative power in our own lives.
So, the next time your plans are interrupted or you encounter someone in need, consider that it might be a divine appointment. Ask God for discernment and the courage to say “yes” to his leading. When doing so, you’ll find that divine appointments can lead to some of the most meaningful moments in your journey of faith.
Dear God, thank you for the reminder that while I make plans, it is ultimately you who establishes my steps. Help me to trust in your perfect guidance, even when my own plans seem certain. May I seek Your will daily and be open to the changes and redirections you bring into my life. Grant me the wisdom to surrender my desires to your good purposes and to walk in faith, knowing that your plan is what’s best for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Cold Snowstorm
Whitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter and Facebook.
Looking for authentic conversations about how to deal with body image, insecurity, and comparison issues as a Christian woman? The Compared to Who? Podcast is the show for you! Twice a week, we tackle tough topics like dieting, disordered eating, weight loss, aging, body dysmorphia, and more from a practical, grace-filled, gospel-centered perspective.