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A divine encounter


ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–One of my personality flaws is I am task-oriented. My wife and friends will tell you the same about me. “Tunnel vision” is how a former secretary described my weakness.

Unfortunately, this flaw affects my spiritual walk, too. I get so busy with the things I’m doing for the Lord, I miss what He wants me to do right now.

Just the other day, I almost succumbed to the flaw again. I was busy buying resources for a member of a Louisiana Baptist Convention evangelism task force and needed to return to the office for a meeting. After my purchase, I hurried out to my truck, climbed in and realized I hadn’t eaten all day. Breakfast. Lunch. Nothing. (My flaw affects many areas.) So I ran into a fast food restaurant.

This fast food restaurant isn’t known for its speed, but it is convenient. I walked in, saw a young woman at the counter and immediately knew I needed to talk to her about the Lord. However, as I placed my order in this normally slow restaurant, I almost instantly got my food. I didn’t get a chance to say anything but “thank you” before she was taking another order.

As I sat down in an isolated section of the restaurant, I thought to myself, I must be tired and hungry. Perhaps I had not been hearing from the Lord. But about that time, I looked up and the young woman was coming around the counter, walking to my section to clean. That’s when I said, “OK God, you can’t make it any clearer.”

With unusual candor, even for me, I asked, “What have you been praying for?” A little startled, the woman — who we’ll call “Lisa” — answered with a laugh, “A lot of things.”


She began to tell me about a marriage that was failing and her struggle to provide for her school-aged child. The struggle was even more difficult because she was expecting her second child in a few months. I asked if I could pray for her.

After the prayer, I probed a little more into her spiritual life. I found out she attended church but misunderstood how to have eternal life. With her permission, I shared the Gospel. In a simple prayer, Lisa cried out for the salvation that comes through Jesus alone.

When I got back to the office, a coworker, Thurman, said he knew the pastor of Lisa’s church and called him for me. A secretary at the church answered the phone. Thurman told her why he was calling; the secretary starting shouting, praising God. When she could speak again, she told Thurman that the church had been praying for Lisa’s salvation for some time.

As I went to my meeting, I was still shaking from a Holy Spirit adrenaline rush. I realized how close I came to missing where God was at work. I whispered a prayer on my way, “Thank you God for choosing to use me, in spite of my flaws.”
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.