Most of the biggest decisions in my life were determined by single, casual conversations along the way. Moments that appeared to be completely ordinary turned out to be life changing. Talks I hadn’t even planned turned to topics I hadn’t considered, and everything changed.
For example, one afternoon during my senior year of college, I stopped by the registrar’s office to confirm that I was on schedule to graduate. My only intent was to get a quick print-out from one of the office staff, but the registrar himself called me into his office to chat about my future plans. My intention had been to finish college and immediately launch into some kind of international ministry, but that single conversation caused me to change plans and get a graduate degree in theology, a choice I have never regretted.
About a year later, a close friend of mine asked me why I hadn’t asked out a young lady named Aundrea. When he saw that my excuses were flimsy and stupid, he put it plainly: “Look, either you ask her out soon, or she’ll start looking somewhere else. This is a once-in-a-lifetime girl. I’d hate for you to miss your chance.” And now she’s my wife!
One Saturday afternoon in 2001, a chance meeting with an acquaintance of mine led to my enrolling in Southern Seminary.
On a Wednesday night in January of 2007, I crossed paths with a former seminary professor, and our conversation led to his writing a letter of reference for me to a church in Colorado—a church that had contacted him asking for referrals. A church with the mouthful name of “Parker Hills Bible Fellowship.”
It’s no exaggeration for me to say that God has shaped my life more through a select handful of everyday discussions than by any other influence.
Stories like this remind me that God is in every moment. There are no accidents. Even the seemingly random meetings we have every day are divine appointments, scheduled by God from eternity past.
These stories also remind me that there are no idle words. Casual conversations can be life changing. God uses our words to shape people’s lives.
And finally, there are no pointless relationships. In my life, God used a whole range of people to influence me, from a close mentor with whom I’d spent hours in deep conversation to a casual acquaintance with whom I’d never had a meaningful discussion of any kind.