It had “random” and “coincidence” written all over it–
I had finally remembered to take an ancient picture to Walgreens to have it duplicated and enlarged, something on my to-do list for about a year. Ready on Tuesday, I couldn’t get there until Wednesday. While I waited in the check-out line, coming out of nowhere at the speed of blur, a friend of my son’s tackled him in a ferocious grizzly hug. At the moment I was studying the back of his head to determine who it was, I glanced up and saw his mom, a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in ages.
We started the game of “catch up” and then decided to continue our conversation over lunch the next day. Cheryl and I enjoy each other’s company immensely, but it’s rare for us to find the time to get together. With different circles of friends and our only connection school, as our boys have gotten older and we’re on campus less, it’s “work” to see each other.
Do you know what I mean?
Over lunch, conversation gushed like water from hydrant–time was not on our side. Without saying it, we knew it would be a long while before we had this chance again.
Long after the time we had agreed we needed to be done (the “importance” of our errands was fading), Cheryl matter-of-factly asked, “Did you know I had cancer last year?”
I was stunned; this was the first I was hearing about it.
* * * * * * *
Three different types of thyroid cancer, two of which I had never heard of, the third I hadn’t until today. Not only in my conversation with Cheryl, but…
in an email…
from another friend…
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Pamela’s email was brief and direct: “Karmyn has been diagnosed with a thyroid tumor: Hurthle Cell Adenoma. Please pray for her. And if you have a church prayer group… ask for theirs, too? Thank you!”
Pamela and Karmyn are mother and daughter; they are two of my earliest blogging friends and we’ve known each other over five years. Karmyn is mother to three young children, and when I read Pamela’s email I instantly thought about my own mother and how she must have felt when she was diagnosed with breast cancer…her children (my siblings and I) were infant, four and 5 1/2.
I didn’t have time to research her diagnosis at the time, but then I wouldn’t need to–
God had provided a divine appointment with Cheryl…
a nurse by profession and one who could explain the diagnosis in full; not to mention, offer encouragement and assurances no Google search could return!
* * * * * * * *
Cheryl’s eyes are beautiful; peridot and penetrating, she doesn’t look at you when she speaks, she looks into you. She listens with those eyes; expressive and animated, compassionate and caring, I wonder if she understands their power.
I find her credible mostly because I know her, but also because her eyes communicate truth.
“If you’re gonna get cancer, this is the best kind to get.”
“I know other people get much sicker, I’m not minimizing it, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad….”
I listened to her words and searched her eyes…and found reassurance.
Still…cancer! It robbed me of my mother and both grandmothers when I was too young and they were too young.
I hate it, but no more furiously than when it touches family or friends.
* * * * * * * * *
I wrote Karmyn later in the day. Because of my lunch conversation with Cheryl earlier, I could offer her insight and encouragement from another who had walked that bumpy road. By Karmyn’s own admission, Hurthle cells are mostly benign, but until they’re removed it’s impossible to know.
I pray Karmyn grows closer to God through her experience and for her to sense His presence like never before…that it changes her in beautiful ways. Of course I beg for healing and for peace, but I also pray in the incomparable and unexplainable ways of God for this circumstance to somehow be used for her good, God’s glory and the advance of the Gospel. I guess I’m praying to see the truth of Romans 8:28–
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
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Coincidence that I ran into Cheryl on a day I had randomly chosen to mark something off a year-old to-do list? That I would cross paths with a friend recovering from an illness I had never heard of the very day I learned another friend shared the same diagnosis?
Some would say so.
Instead, I see it as divine appointment from a gracious God just lookin’ for ways to build my faith and to remind me…
He knows me…
He loves me…
Nothing catches Him by surprise…
He is gracious…
And He’s kind and generous and loving and grace-extending.
Which is just a start.
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Your turn: Have you experienced a Divine Appointment that the world might consider random coincidence? We’d love to hear about your faith-building encouragement!
Note: If you’d like to “meet” Karmyn, please pop over to her site, Dreaming What Ifs, and offer her your words of encouragement.
by Robin Dance, PENSIEVE