During my travels I learned to recognize what I call “divine delays.” Whenever I have been held up somewhere longer than expected, often they were set-ups by the Lord so someone can receive ministry.
One time in Tampa, Florida, I walked to a corner to take the bus to Rodney Howard-Browne’s church. The bus was supposed to arrive at 9:50 AM but showed up over a half hour late. In the meantime, I passed out gospel tracts to people walking and biking by. Often bicyclists will grab tracts out of my hand like a relay runner taking the baton from another runner. One young boy on a bicycle named Dan stopped to listen to the gospel and got born again on the spot. Moments later I saw the bus coming.
In 2003 while visiting Germany, I prepared to travel to Berlin using Mitfahr Zentrale, which is like a car pool service. I was supposed to leave Kassel at 5:30 PM. After 1½ hours passed without any sign of my ride showing up, I felt led to initiate a conversation with a man waiting for a Mitfahr employee who couldn't leave until the driver arrived. Ousmann was a Muslim originally from Gambia. He had been hung up on the Islamic belief that God has no sons. For almost an hour I shared many Scriptures with Ousmann including John 3:16 and 1 John 5:12-13. Ousmann prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. A couple minutes later, my driver arrived.
Two years later after spending time ministering in Tennessee, my host dropped me off at the bus station in Johnson City. I kept sensing my bus wouldn't be on time. Sure enough it rolled into town over a half hour late. I used that waiting time to witness to other people at the station, seven of who prayed to receive salvation.
Another time in Minneapolis, I went for a bike ride and was delayed at a railroad crossing along with another man on a bicycle. Perceiving this was a divine appointment, I gave Adrian a gospel tract and found out he wasn’t sure of his eternal destiny. Adrian finished praying to receive salvation just before the train completely crossed the road.
Then a few weeks ago, a Greyhound bus I rode from Pittsburgh to Greensburg, Pennsylvania left 90 minutes past its scheduled departure time. I was getting irritable since I was overtired plus my two previous buses also ran late. When the bus finally rolled into the Transit Center in Greensburg, I saw three teenaged boys hanging around and immediately knew this was another divine delay. I witnessed to Nick, Isaac, and Austin who weren’t sure of their eternal destiny but believed the gospel. All of them prayed to get born again.
So the next time you find yourself unexpectedly waiting around somewhere, ask the Lord if He has a purpose for that. There may be someone at this place He wants you to talk to. His timing is always perfect!
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” - Psalm 37:23