Serendipity has been defined as a “happy accident.” It’s been one of my favorite words for years and so aptly describes a number of situations I find myself in. Knowing that God orders my steps and my days, I find it difficult to believe in ‘coincidence.’ However, I am still always in awe when I see His hand on our lives. Divine serendipity is the best description I could think of for the story I’m about to tell you.
It was a Monday afternoon. My friend had called me from the church to let me know they had just received fresh fruit and offered it to me for our Tuesday night Laundry Love friends. I jumped at the chance and went after work to pick it up. When I went out to my car to see if I had an extra box, I saw a couple walking toward me, with a young child in a stroller.
They had walked to the church searching for help, but our church is closed on Mondays. They had gone to the front doors (on the south side) to find them locked. I was parked on the west side of the building. Had I come out of the side door five minutes earlier or five minutes later, I would not have seen or met them. They explained that they had been living in a hotel, but had to be out by 11:00 a.m. It was almost 2:00 p.m. when our paths crossed. They explained that they were approved for public housing but were waiting for their house to come available. Both have jobs but neither got paid until the following week. They had no money to buy another week at the hotel and no where to go with their nine month old son. They told me they would walk back to the church the following day, but quite honestly, depending on where they would sleep that night, it is a long way to walk for a possible “no.” I took their name and phone number and told them I would call the church for them in the morning then give them a call. I made no promises of what the church or I could do, and said nothing else to get their hopes up.
I went back inside to load up the fruit for Laundry Love and filled a separate bag for them. I had a hunch I would be seeing them again. As I drove away, I knew I was to do something to help but didn’t have the nearly $200 it would cost for another week at the hotel. So I hopped on Facebook and asked if I had 15 friends who were willing to give $10. The response was incredible. I heard from people from 4 different states (one of my daughters happened to be in Wisconsin!) who wanted to contribute. In a couple short hours, I knew that we had enough pledged, and called to tell them I would meet them at the hotel.
Just before 5:00 p.m., I got them checked in, we hugged goodbye and I handed them the bag of fruit. I wasn’t sure it was the end of the story, but at least was assured they would have a roof over their head for the next week.
For the next 3 days, money was sent to me through Facebook, through the mail, delivered to my home and to my office. I marveled at the response to a simple solution and gave thanks.
There is so much more to this story… so many incredible provisions and details that only God could orchestrate. If I were to tell it all here, it would read more like a book than a blog. I will break it into pieces and write more again soon. For this portion, here are a few takeaways…
While we think we’re going about our own business, God may just want to interrupt our days or our plans, for a bigger plan. It’s not always convenient, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Circumstances can seem insurmountable for all of us sometimes. Breaking it into smaller bites, and asking people to come alongside and help, provides more opportunity for solutions. I knew I could not meet their need on my own, but it cost 20 of us very little to make a big difference in their circumstances and help restore hope.
What fruit are you sharing? The truth is, we have been blessed, so that we can be a blessing. It’s good to take inventory every so often of the fruit of our lives, the provisions and luxuries we’ve been granted and share some of the extra.
Abundance is… community responding with compassion.
Savoring the Flavor of Fruit With You,