No Coincidence (Continued)

This post is a continuation of last post from 8-3-08. (Read that one first.)

About thirty minutes had passed. We were total strangers–still sitting a few tables apart from each other–having a great conversation about spiritual things (and adding quite a bit of interest to the cafe)! It’s awesome when the Lord arranges opportunities like this.

As our conversation in the Starbucks cafe continued, my “new friend” eventually came and joined me at my table. He brought up the subject of “resurrection” and life after death.
I explained how I am 100% sure that I’m going to Heaven, but that it’s not because I’m a good person; it’s because I believe the Bible when it says ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’ (Rom 10:13) and ‘these things I have written unto you who believe on the Lord that you may know you have eternal life…’ (1 John 5:13) [emphasis added]

There were about 10 other people in the small café pretending to read the newspaper, but I had a feeling most of them were listening to us.

My feelings were confirmed when another lady came up to our table and said, “I’m so sorry to interrupt, but your conversation was just so interesting! I just wanted to know what you were talking about.”
“Have a seat!” I offered.

Now there were three of us sitting around the table.
I asked her the same question: “Do you think eternal life is a free gift or something you have to earn?”
“Oh my, honey, you gotta earn it” she said. “You gotta work for it every day, doin what’s right, being a good person…”
“So how do you know when you’ve been good enough?” I asked.
“Well, if you’ve been a good person all your life, then you can pretty much just know that you’re going to heaven.”
“But” I said, “where does God actually draw the line between good people and bad people?”
“What do you mean by that?” she asked.
“Well, we may think that we are a good person compared to someone else we know, but we can’t just compare with those around us because God’s standards are higher than ours.”
“Well, you tell me what you think then,” she told me.
“Ok” I said. 🙂
I shared—again—the good news that we don’t have to earn our salvation, using the example of the thief on the cross. When he believed on Jesus, Jesus told him, “today you will be with me in paradise”. But the thief hadn’t even done one good work to get there. Not one! And even if the thief had done thousands of good works, it wouldn’t have gotten him into Heaven. He needed his sin to be paid for, and only Jesus could do that.

“That’s right,” the lady agreed emphatically, “You can’t get there on your own, no, no, we need God’s forgiveness!”
Hmmm…. I thought, She just said the opposite a few minutes ago. I wonder if she really understands.
So I said, “But if God is a just Judge, He can’t simply forgive anyone just like that. A truly good Judge wouldn’t let a murderer go free, would He? –no matter how sorry they are? God can’t simply let everyone ‘go free’ because they are sorry. It’s only because Jesus took our punishment that we can go free, and God still be just.”

About that time my friend, Ally, (a Bright Lights leader who has gone on many conference trips with us) walked in to Starbucks.
“Ally!” I waved her over, “I’m talking with two friends here that I just met, do you want to join us?

Now we had four people around the little table. This was getting fun! I was glad (and a little relieved) that Ally was now there to contribute to this conversation.
It is no coincidence that she walked in just now, I realized.

A guy sat down at a table next to us and opened his lap top. I wondered whether he was actually working on his computer or listening to us.

As we continued our discussion, the older man who I met first said, “In the Catholic Church, we go to confession. If we’ve confessed everything to a priest before we die, then we can be pretty sure we’ll go to Heaven.”
“Yes, I’m familiar with that,” I said, “But could you tell me where in the Bible it says that?”
“No” he said, “I don’t even know if the Bible teaches it.”
“Then, with all respect,” I asked, “why do you believe it?”
“Because that’s what I was taught,” he said.
I nodded. “That’s the same as most people,” I mentioned, “Usually Muslims are Muslims because that’s how they were raised. Hindus are Hindus because their parents were, etc. But the different religions can’t all be right as if all of them ‘eventually get to God’ (as some people say) because they teach very different things.”

Next we talked for a while about the accuracy of the Bible.

“I’d say” he mentioned, “that the Bible is kind of like God’s ‘reference-manual’ for how to live our lives on earth.”
“I’d give it a stronger definition than that,” I countered.
“Roadmap?” the lady suggested.
“One way I like to look at it” I said, “is by remembering an acronym for Bible. B.I.B.L.E. = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Eternity is a long time. Nothing is more important than knowing what God says in the Bible about what happens when we die.”

We talked for over two hours in the Starbucks cafe and I wish I could remember and record everything we talked about! Ally shared some good comments and a personal testimony of how the Lord had recently been working in her life.

I left with the excitement of knowing that God had orchestrated our paths to cross, and God would still be at work in their hearts. He is the One who draws people to Himself. It’s such a special gift that He allows us to help.

16 thoughts on “No Coincidence (Continued)

  1. Yay Grace!

    That’s absolutely wonderful. And actually, I heard once that a “Coincidence” is when God chooses to work incognito… and I think that makes sense. 🙂 Have a blessed day.
    Julia

  2. P.s.
    I just realized I filled in the website blank wrong! :0! It’s supposed to be ‘http://jewelsbyjulia-lauren.blogspot.com’ and I forgot the ‘-lauren’! sorry about that.
    Julia

  3. Grace, thank you for taking the time to pray and ask Jesus to lead you to someone to talk to instead of just running your errands and going home. (Others, I’m the granddaughter-in-law of the man)

    This is so encouraging because I’ve really been struggling lately in getting overwhelmed with fear and worry about where my loved ones will spend eternity. I can’t say that my husband, Matt, and I have put a ton of energy into prayer or thought towards his Grandpa (our children some others have been on our hearts more intensely’, I guess you could say). Recently we were talking about his salvation, though. And how we should talk with him. I’m sure I would have prayed at that time, too.

    That is the awesome thing – If the Lord will work this type of thing out when the burden for the person isn’t as strong… What about when we have a heavy burden for someone and are praying heavily?! It just comes down to being encouraged that Jesus is FAITHFUL! :c)

    -Sarah (the Granddaughter-in-Law)

  4. Sarah: Thanks for bringing out that point! Very encouraging. It will be exciting to see how the Lord continues to work and answer prayer…..!!

  5. Grace,
    Thank-you so much for the witness that you are in Christ!
    Your witness encourages me to stop running my errands without thinking what the Lord wants me to do with those around me, which I am too often tempted to do! Your family’s ministries are such a blessing to me!
    God Bless You
    Kayla

  6. Wow! Grace, that’s an amazing experience…thank you for taking the time to relay it. What an encouragement! 🙂

  7. Wow! Grace I would call that a God given experiance!!! 🙂
    Thank you for sharing that! You and your family are such an example to me. It is amazing how God works things out like that! (I have to say that I LOVE Starbucks to!) 🙂 I have seen the Lord work in some intersesting ways! Very interesting ways!

  8. Grace,
    How wonderful that the lord arranged such a meeting. All those around you had a Devine apppointment with the Lord! Thank you for taking the time out to really “See” whom the Lord wanted you to witness to that day!
    Lovingly,
    Annette Hesson

  9. Wow, Grace, that is so awesome! Recently I actually had the opportunity to talk to a lady on an airplane for quite some time after praying at the airport that the Lord would open that door of opportunity. Isn’t it wonderful when He leads those people right to us?
    It is wonderful to here of your heart for witnessing. Keep it up!

    -Jenni

  10. Grace, Praise the Lord! What an exerience! He sure does work in mysterious ways…I am sure that your efforts were not in vain! Your courage inspires me…thank you!

  11. Grace,

    WOW! God is so faithful!
    I praise Him for your sensitive spirit toward Him and your willingness to be an instrument in His orchestra 🙂

    Alison

  12. That story gave me goose-bumps! What a great opportunity to witness to quite a few individuals. 🙂 That is very exciting! I’ll be praying that the Lord uses your conversation with them mightily!
    In Christ,
    Tara

  13. Hi Grace!! This is the first time I finally get to see your website! (It wasn’t working when I put ti in on my other computer 🙂 This story is soooo awesome! It is such an encouragement! Thanks for posting that. I would love to hear more about what God does through you! It’s so cool that you memorize scripture too! I have been wanting to for a long time and haven’t really got around to it 🙁 (excuses I Know) You’ve really encouraged me to pursue that more. Also I read that you’ve been to the Creation Museum and volunteered there thats so awesome! I just heard about it last week or so and am starting to share with my youth group about it! I want to go there on a trip as a gruop with anyone who wants to come. I’m really exccited to go! But I told them they have to wait until I get back from Honduras. 🙂 I’m leaving labor day. I don’t think I told you that the date changed. Sorry. I also wanted to tell you I just got a laptop and my email and blog set up! So now you can e-mail me and check my blog for updates about my trip. My blog is at http://www.crimsonmercy.com and e-mail is erin@crimsonmercy.com. Love you and your family!! tell them I said Hi. (sorry this is so long I should’ve e-mailed) In Him,
    Erin

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