No “Chance” Encounters

This morning I got a call from a person I’ve been assisting for 3 weeks through parish community outreach and case management who had come to Panama City with a referral for a new job. The couple raised 4 children in a Methodist Church out of state. After the spouse and three of the four children died in tragic circumstances over the last 7 years, the individual was broken, aimless, and angry with God, had abandoned the Church after the spouse’s death in 2009 but now had realized that faith lived through a godly spouse and children saved and nurtured in the Church instead of based on a personal relationship with Christ is not faith at all. Faith is not a second-hand gift. The circumstances that brought this person our way are miraculous, in and of themselves, involving a “chance” conversation in a passing contact with a person engaged in lay ministry at LHUMC who anonymously extended an unusual grace in meeting a specific need that one wouldn’t expect to have met so promptly or in such a place. That LHUMC member, then invited the person to seek additional help at “that Methodist Church up the road.” Today, Pastor Terry Tatum spent time in spiritual guidance and a prayer of salvation with this wounded person. The angels are awe-struck! The remaining adult child, halfway across the country, is celebrating and grateful. I am praising God for his prevenient grace and for allowing LHUMC to be a means of grace in sharing the Truth of the Gospel with this new Christian. Tonight in fellowship with others, a new believer will take the first tentative steps in a personal journey of faith in a new hometown and a new community of believers. We are grateful to God and to others who will come alongside this person to help bring spiritual and emotional healing and new joy in living. Oh, God of Second Chances, thank you for a new beginning for another wounded and wandering soul! Amen!