When God Winks is a book by SQuire Rushnell in which he says there are no coincidences, and the “small world” moments in your life are really God-orchestrated divine appointments. Last Thursday was like a God Winks Greatest Hits for me, so let me recount the events involving six people over an almost six-year prelude.
September 15, 2011 – The story begins at Simple Talk IV at the home of my friend James. Simple Talk is a series of impactful testimonies given by men and women handpicked by James and his friend Wayne, and on this evening the speaker was a guy named Cary. Little did I know this night would change the trajectory of my life, but follow along and you can imagine God smiling down at me with a knowing nod.
Toward the end of his talk, Cary mentioned an accountability group. He was asked to elaborate in the Q&A, so Cary explained that when he’s on the road he has friends who check up on him to make sure he’s staying on the path he wants to travel.
At that point in my faith walk I thought that was something I should have in my life, so I met with James a few days later and asked if he had such a group. He did not, so we decided to form our own. Enter Mike and David and my first accountability group had taken shape.
October 7, 2011 – We met as a group for the first time and the support provided by these men made an immediate impact in my life. I was in the midst of an inevitable life low, but the combination of scripture, prayer, and regular meetings with these brothers elevated me back to my natural optimistic state.
December 12, 2012 – During a subsequent breakfast at Cindy’s, James shared an issue that was troubling him. It weighed on me enough to follow up with him individually, so we scheduled a coffee for the following week. But as the day wore on, I felt an urgency to meet with James sooner, so I pressed for a meeting the next a.m.
December 13, 2012 – I met James at The Pearl Cup on Henderson Avenue. We had a wonderful conversation, which might have carried on to lunch if not for a 10:00 meeting he had at his office. As we wrapped up, James asked if I had ever considered ministering to people because he thought I might have a gift for it. I told him I had not, as that was the first time anyone had mentioned me and ministry in the same sentence.
Looking at his watch he also suggested I go see George’s Munger Place Bible study, starting in two minutes, as it came highly recommended by his wife, Emily. As God would have it, I didn’t have anywhere to be, and with the church less than a minute away, I wandered over to give it a try.
I acknowledged Emily a few rows away as I took my seat. I enjoyed George’s message, and he concluded the study with prophecy, which I had never seen. I found the first couple to be fascinating, but my heart skipped a beat when George singled me out and asked if he could share something with me. (Me?) Not knowing what to expect I nervously agreed. He shared a vision involving Big Ben which was quite encouraging, but it was the next one that shook me to my core. A lady standing next to George asked if she could also share something with me. (Two prophecies at my first meeting. What’s going on here?) She said she asked the Lord about me and received a vision of me as a bartender. She saw me serving drinks and said I had a way about me that drew customers to the bar wanting me to minister to them. (WHAT???)
I started shaking in my seat, as I didn’t know what was happening. Was this a joke? I wasn’t even sure what ministering was, and now two people within 90 minutes suggest it might be part of my future???
I asked Emily to meet me in the basement to corroborate what just transpired. She confirmed it as she had the presence of mind to write down the prophecy as it was happening. I started crying as I told Emily her husband (James) had just asked me if I had ever considered ministering to people!
I didn’t know what to make of the situation. I even had thoughts James and Emily might be pranking me, but later that afternoon I got a voicemail from James. He, too, was in awe of the series of events that took place:
- We happened to have breakfast the previous day, which spurred our followup meeting.
- We scheduled coffee for the following week, but I decided we needed to meet earlier.
- James happened to be available and suggested The Pearl Cup of all places to meet.
- We meet and our conversation leads James to mention me and ministry.
- We break up our meeting so James can get to a 10:00 meeting.
- I end up going to see George only because I happened to literally be down the street from the Bible study.
- Emily happens to be at Munger Place and takes in the whole scene.
- I physically shake as I receive a second, unsolicited suggestion about potential future ministry.
- The capper? James found out his meeting got cancelled AFTER he returned to the office.
Date Unknown – Emily turns me on to When God Winks, and it becomes clear to me that the events of December 13 were not random chance.
May 7, 2013 – I had developed a content program I thought would benefit men ready to get off the sidelines and engage in their faith, so I met with George to tell him about my great idea called The Eternal Scorecard. After four hours of me spilling my soul, George has a better idea. He suggests I start more accountability groups with the secret sauce that allowed the first group to make such a difference in my life. And the seed for Flashlight Circles was planted!
May 7, 2014 – Having been contacted out of the blue, I meet my friend Tino at Union Coffee, because he is struggling and needs a friend to listen. You might say I ministered to him. I check in a few days later and we lose touch again.
February 2, 2017 – I go see George at a HPUMC Bible study and Tino is there. We catch up in the parking lot, and two things he says inspire me to pack two books in the car for the next time I see him.
February 23, 2017 – A sunrise to sunset God Wink.
I start this Thursday at George’s Bible study. Tino and James are there. At my car I give Tino Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. James approaches as I present the second book. Tino exudes a sense of wonder when I relay that it was Emily who turned me on to When God Winks.
I was supposed to meet a friend to look at some office space on the 22nd, but since we hadn’t seen each other in years, we decided to catch up over lunch on that Thursday instead. What a great opportunity to tell Cary that his testimony was the catalyst for what has become Flashlight Circles.
And I had relatives in from out of town that night, so I met them for dinner at Ozona Grill…just down the street from Union Coffee. They understood when I cut out early because I had somewhere to be.
It was only appropriate to end this amazing day where this whole story started.
At Simple Talk XIV.
I wanted to share this God Wink with Emily that night but didn’t have the chance.
Now I have.