God Incidents

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,  a stronghold in times of trouble. 

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9-10


I had an appointment at the Secretary of State office in Hastings a couple weeks ago. As (my sister) Camille and I waited for my brother (who is usually late), I realized I was experiencing anxiety. Over the last several years, my appointments at the Secretary of State have been too frequent and often frustrating. I’ve encountered some less than helpful personnel, but much of the time there was something missing which necessitated another visit (or two). I anticipated problems and complications.

I explained to the clerk that I needed to transfer a title and presented the requested documents. Once we completed the preliminary information, we were invited to wait for my brother and then get back in line. It was painless! When Alan arrived (15 minutes late), we got back in line. We were helped by another clerk. She reviewed our forms.

“Are you from Vicksburg?” she inquired.

“I graduated from Vicksburg,” I answered tentatively.

My eyes fell on her name tag. A classmate? Here? Helping us sort through the old business of my parents estate — very humbling. She seemed happy to help.

“I’ve been through this with my mom, my dad and my brother,” she said. “It takes a long time.”

Needless to say, our transaction went smoothly. We succeeded at our task, but we received much more. 

When I took the Alpha course back in 2004, I remember Jan Ritter taught a segment on God incidents (as opposed to coincidence). I am convinced that appointment was a God incident!

I have since realized that my approach was flawed. I expected bad outcomes. I allowed stressors to get to me. God sent the right person to help us. This happens more often than we realize. Learning to trust God and maintain positive expectations is not always easy, but it isn’t nearly as painful as the alternative.

Go with God!


Prayer: Loving and gracious God, we thank you for the shelter you provide for us. Forgive us for failing to recognize the many people and signs you send to us. Give us the opportunity to be your light to others. Amen.

Nathan Martens