I have a favorite coffee shop. For years in the town we used to live in, I was a frequent customer. Still am, as often as I can be, on the weekend. It is located in a charming old farmhouse. It is one of my most cherished places to quietly sit and read the Bible before the start of a busy day. When I lived just around the corner, I often went there in the early morning and got lost in the pages of my Bible amid the din of conversations and the smell of roasting coffee. I liked to do my reading before I went to my part-time job at the local church where I worked for a number of years.
One early morning, cup in one hand and my Bible in the other, I was headed to the back of the coffee shop to find an out-of-the-way nook to read in. I was intent on self-isolation that particular morning. As I proceeded out of the front room, with it’s clamor, through the middle room and toward the back, I had an unusual impression. “Go sit in the green chair.” That seemed odd, as I wasn’t thinking anything of the kind. I had already passed a set of green chairs in the noisy front room and had no intention of sitting there. Again, the same impression came a second and a third time. “Go sit in the green chair,” a small voice seemed to speak into my heart. Now, I’ve walked with the Lord long enough and studied His word carefully enough to pay attention to this kind of thing. I have known and experienced the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. I made a quick mental assessment of the situation and realized it was unlikely to be my own idea, since nothing could be further from my own intention that day.
Rustica (formerly Dunn Bros. Coffee) at
Smith Douglas More House, Eden Prairie, MN
Obediently, but reluctantly, I turned around and headed back toward the crowded front room, seating myself in one of the two comfortable green chairs. I happily noted that the other chair was unoccupied. I then dismissed the notion of the Holy Spirit’s leading, attributing it to my own thought, and hunkered down to read.
I was happily engrossed in personal Bible study when a man came up and sat down in the other green chair. I turned myself slightly away, hoping to avoid even a polite hello to this stranger, wanting to protect ‘my’ time. Also, I would not normally engage in conversation with an unknown man, based upon my personal boundaries. It wasn’t long before the man interrupted me with an unusual declarative statement, which caught me off guard. Instead of a polite small-talk greeting, the stranger declared, “you’re just like my wife!” ‘What?’, I thought to myself. He obviously ignored my body language and went on, “she’s always reading the Bible too.” It began to dawn on me that this was a person to whom God intended me to speak. ‘So that’s why I was supposed to go and sit in the green chair,’ I thought. Resigning myself to the loss of what I perceived to be ‘my’ time, I patiently listened and answered while this total stranger proceeded to fire Bible questions at me, one after the other. It turned out to be a rather lively and engaging conversation. I ended up suggesting that perhaps he would enjoy reading the Bible as much as his wife did. He said he would consider all that I said.
I became very certain, during the course of our exchange that, in response to his wife’s prayers for her unbelieving husband, I had been guided by the Holy Spirit to the green chair before the man arrived. I was in the right place at the right time, to answer his questions. I never saw him again, but trust that God used me as one who helped him along in his journey toward faith.
That day, I had walked with Jesus on the road of everyday life to a green chair in my local coffee shop. What a delightful reminder to know that God is busy answering prayer, and that I got to play a part in this one!