One summer while I was studying at Oxford…
(My friends and I like to throw that phrase around in a snooty tone. It makes us sound like we’re far more academically superior than we really are. In all actuality, I traveled to Oxford one summer with a group of my seminary classmates and professors. We stayed at one of the colleges and had class while we were there. The end.)
One summer while I was studying at Oxford, we traveled by coach to Edinburgh, Scotland for a three-day excursion.
On the first day, our bus got stuck in traffic in the middle of the city. We inched along at a snail’s pace for what seemed like forever, only to end up sitting at a corner for what seemed like another eternity waiting to turn. A crowd was gathered at the same corner waiting to cross the street. We were all deadlocked.
I was chatting with my friends and had my back to the window. A classmate told me she thought someone in the crowd on the street was trying to get my attention. I laughed and turned to look at the sea of pedestrians. After a second or two, it registered with me that the person waving both hands in the air and jumping up and down was one of my college roommates, Kim.
If I hadn’t been so shocked, I would’ve flown off the bus and onto the street or, at the very least, I would’ve grabbed a sheet of paper and written notes to her. Instead we proceeded to have a conversation via lip reading and large gestures. She asked me where I was going, and I told her “the castle,” as I drew one in the air.
Of course, right at that very moment, the traffic parted and we started moving.
In a nearby town, we unloaded the bus at Stirling Castle, land of the legendary William Wallace, and I searched for Kim (and Mel Gibson) in every nook and cranny of the grounds. But since she went to Edinburgh Castle in the middle of the city, I didn’t find her.
I prayed throughout the day that the Lord would allow us to cross paths again. We lost touch after college, and I hadn’t seen Kim in at least five years. It was 2004, and our lives had not yet been revolutionized by social media, so my only option was to go to an Internet café that night and try to find a way to contact her.
I sat down at a computer and composed a crazy email telling our mutual friends what happened. I asked them to send me Kim’s email address if they had it and to tell her where to find me.
I hit send, logged out, and Kim walked up.
She, too, had resorted to email and told our friends to tell me to meet her at that very Internet café at that very moment. She thought I was there because of her email, but I had never received it.
My seminary classmates were so much holier than me. They were convinced our serendipitous encounter was a divine appointment of epic proportions. I’m pretty sure they thought revival was going to break out in the land because of what the Lord had done to bring the two of us together.
It turns out that Kim had been backpacking solo around Europe for a few weeks. She had begun to feel lonely, so while sitting in a park one night, she prayed for someone to hang out with. She really lowballed God and just hoped for some English-speaking people to chat with at her hostel in lieu of the Romanian person who had snatched her bed the night before.
She never in a million years would’ve dreamed she would be meeting an old friend for high tea in Downtown Edinburgh the next day.
No one got saved because of our time together, but to this day, Kim and I both have no doubt that our meeting was a divine encounter. It is one of our favorite stories to tell, mainly because it’s a story only the Lord could’ve written.
Anything in life that demonstrates God’s work is an evidence of grace.
It’s a reminder that God doesn’t owe us anything, but He gives it anyway. More often it’s used in terms of our sanctification, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that.
Encountering Kim in the midst of a traffic jam in Edinburgh, Scotland will always be a precious evidence of grace in both of our lives. That 24-hour period was one of the sweetest times of fellowship we’ve ever had. We didn’t do anything to deserve it and Kim certainly would’ve been fine without it, but He gave it anyway.
I’m learning to be more intentional about seeing evidences of grace all around me—not only in the spectacular and the unexpected (like Scotland), but also in the quiet and the predictable. I want to be keenly aware and inordinately grateful as the Lord uses them to continue to build upon my trust that He is good and what He does is indeed always good.
What are some evidences of grace you’ve seen in your life lately? Share them in the comments below!
*Photo credit: Andrea_44