David's Divine Opportunity
The following divine opportunity story comes from my father-in-law, David Watson, a professor and chair of pastoral ministries at North Central University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At the time of the divine opportunity, David was lead pastor at Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri. He writes:
As a pastor of a church in Springfield, Missouri, I had a pretty full plate that included church-wide meetings, staff meetings, individual member meetings, the responsibility of writing sermons, taking care of administrative duties, community outreach, and many other obligations—in addition to being a husband and a father. Needless to say, time was of the essence.
My story picks up one afternoon when I was between meetings and driving across town. As I began my drive between these appointments, a sudden feeling came over me that I was to go to the local hospital to pray for someone. However, I knew how much I still needed to get done that day and how short of a time frame I had between my scheduled meetings. But still, the Lord was speaking to me. I could not get this thought out of my head. As I contemplated the choice between getting to my meeting on time and being obedient to God’s prompting, I ultimately committed to driving to the hospital to see if there was anyone to pray with, and, if not, then I would quickly turn around and get to the meeting.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I parked my car and quickly rushed inside. I walked in and checked with the woman working at the reception desk, with whom I was familiar from previous prayer visitations. She informed me that another pastor from our church had already been in to pray with people from our congregation. As I was having that conversation with the woman at the front desk, I noticed a man sitting off to the side reading a newspaper. He lowered his newspaper, set it aside, and quickly walked over to greet me.
As it turned out, this man was a janitor at the hospital. His job, primarily, was to clean up the hallways and patients’ rooms. Earlier that morning, he had been cleaning a patient’s room just after she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The woman just happened to have the TV on, which was tuned to a local morning broadcast. Prior to going to a commercial break, the broadcast transitioned to a pastor who was delivering a daily devotional and motivational word to the audience. Upon watching this, the woman, who did not go to church, turned her head up to the ceiling and said aloud, “God, if You really exist and You are really a God who cares about me, I want You to send that pastor to my room today to pray with me.”
“Well,” said the janitor, “after hearing this woman pray to God to send this pastor to pray for her, I told God that after my shift got over this morning at ten that I’d wait around for two extra hours until noon just to see if He would send this specific pastor to this particular hospital, and if He did then I would do my part. When you walked in at eleven fifty, right as I was about to leave, I heard your voice as you talked with the receptionist, and I recognized your voice from the TV program. I set down my newspaper, looked over, and sure enough, God sent you, the very pastor from the TV program, to this exact hospital. I would like to take you to pray for the woman. Would you come with me?”
Upon hearing this from the janitor, I knew that it was God’s will. The feelings that I had while driving between meetings were confirmed as God’s divine prompting. This was indeed a divine opportunity. I thanked the janitor for his assistance and I knocked on the door to the woman’s room. When I walked into the room the first thing she said was, “It’s you! It’s really you! How did you know?” I told her that God had heard her prayer, that He cares about her, and He directed me to her to pray for her. I will never forget that moment when she realized how much God cared for her.