Have you ever felt a tug to do something or go someplace, but you didn’t feel motivated to do it? You know you should go or do whatever it is, but your heart just isn’t in it? If you don’t go, you’ll never know what you missed, but if you do go, you’ll realize in that moment that you were meant to be there all along.
I’ve experienced this many times in my life, but I didn’t have a name for that feeling until my friend Tiffinay and I read this book called Prayer of Jabez nearly a decade ago. The author refers to those instances as divine appointments. I like that there’s a name for those little tugs, but I have to admit that I’ve been slow to obey — even when I realize that I might be late (or even miss) one of these appointments.
Today was no different, but the tug started yesterday. A dear friend of mine asked if I’d like to go walking after work sometime this week. I said, “Sure!” I texted that I’d be out of town most of the week and that tomorrow (meaning today) would be the only chance I’d have to hang out. It was almost time to shut down, and I didn’t want to be in the building a second longer than I had to because of the extreme heat that encapsulates you the second the air conditioning is turned off for the day. So I packed my things quickly and shut down my computer. In my haste, though, I left my cell phone in my office and didn’t discover it until I had already made it home 30 minutes later.
Interestingly enough, Gail, Sandy, and I paused outside again to look at the clouds, but we didn’t see kissing ducks this time. We saw what resembled an inebriated turkey and a billowy downward dog. Had we decided to take pictures, I would’ve remembered my phone, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Later that night I realized that my friend and I never confirmed our date. Just in case she still wanted to walk, I’d pack comfy clothes for a three or four-mile walk. That way I couldn’t weasel out of it by saying I didn’t have anything to wear.
When I arrived at work this morning, my phone was dead. Thankfully, I had also packed my charger. Good news! We were going to walk right after work. Boy, was it hot! I don’t like hot weather. I thought of a few legitimate reasons why I couldn’t go, but something kept tugging at me. I really did need to finish tweaking the school improvement plan. I really did need to return a few phone calls. I really did need to make it home to walk my dog and pick up dinner. I really did have an appointment with myself to work on my manuscript. More tugs, and I finally gave in. Whatever God had on my calendar was much more important.
My friend and I walked and talked for about 45 minutes — getting in three miles round trip. We sat at a bench to cool down for a couple minutes, and our appointment showed up right on time. She didn’t expect to sit a spell, and we didn’t know what to say to her, so we just listened until the time was right to say something more. In short, she came to us burdened, confused, and sad. She had just lost the love of her young life suddenly — without notice. A recent engagement, a new home, and a lifetime of hopes and dreams for a family all disappeared in an instant. Just like that, her “’til death do us part” was now. She needed to talk that day, but not with a therapist — with us. Thirty minutes later, our appointment was over. We laughed, hugged, and went our separate ways.
Have you ever felt that tug? If so, what did you do about it? These meetings aren’t coincidental; they’re divinely ordained. How we respond matters.