Chance, or Something Else?

My husband recently wrote a piece entitled "Ten Quotes That Changed My Life."  I was intrigued by the thought as I read it, and my mind has been composing my own list ever since, making me realize my life has indeed been impacted and forever altered because of both written and spoken words.  Coupled with that realization was a recent walk through a bookstore and the face of a book I spotted with a title along the lines of Chance Encounters That Changed My Life.  I didn't pick up the book, but the title started another list of top tens in my mind.  

When I pause and consider my life as a timeline, I can see the random encounters with a few people pop up in big, block letters.  It was those "chance" conversations that altered a course, changed my direction.

The friend who casually invited me to a youth group where I met a youth pastor who invited me to a missions organization's rally where I heard about a group I would eventually travel with to a far-away nation where I would have my life forever marked with a passion for sharing the gospel on foreign soil.  The aquaintance who happened to tell me about a drama team that was auditioning for new members, which I attended and where I met my future husband.  The pastor I met at a friend's wedding rehearsal who would eventually become our pastor and take us under his wing, sending us out to the city in which we lived for fourteen years as leaders of a church plant.  The church meeting we attended at someone else's church and by someone else's suggestion where we happened to buy a book that changed the course of our ministry and gave it sustaining purpose.

Seemingly small conversations that led to big revelations.  Seemingly small events that led to huge changes.  Chance encounters that weren't by chance, after all, but rather part of the big picture we can not see as we live out the minute moments of our lives.

Those life-altering words could happen in the very next phone conversation.  The course of your future could change through one encounter on the very next trip to the grocery store. 

And I find myself wondering if there were others.  Other words, other encounters that I sailed right through, never picking up on their significance, never seeing the stamp of God on the ordinary that was meant to change my life.

So I kneel and pray that I don't miss them. I pray my ears will always hear His voice, speaking when I least expect it, "Pay attention to this, baby.  I'm sending these words, this encounter to you, and they come with a gift attached.  Don't miss out on the opening."

And I look forward to the next package, wrapped in the chance encounter.