Not By Chance

Today’s Reminder of God’s Sovereignty:

Today I went to Catania to pick up my new visa document.

Or at least that was my plan in going to Catania. This document has been ready for several weeks and after two other failed attempts to go to Catania earlier this week, today was going to be the day.

Or so I thought.

I came home empty-handed and a bit bummed I have to go back again next week. I didn’t know I needed a particular receipt in order to pick up the document. As frustrating as it might be that I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do today, I am confident I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Here’s why:

This morning, as I usually do when going to the immigration office, I took the hour-long bus ride to Catania and got off at the very last stop at the main train station. This final stop is conveniently located just a few blocks from the specific police station where I needed to go. This time however, I decided to take a very indirect route in order to stop by a store I had seen from the bus. It was located just a few blocks in the opposite direction from where I was headed.

The store I spotted from the bus was a kitchen and home decor store I had never been to before. After wandering around inside for at least a half hour, I bought a few small things and then started heading for the police station.

As I was walking away from the store two thoughts were running through my mind: I began second-guessing the small but unnecessary purchases I had made and I was starting to wonder if the street I was walking on was taking me closer to or farther way from my destination. It even crossed my mind that I may be better off turning around and going back the way I had come.

I pressed on however and less than two blocks later, I looked up just in time to see an old friend I haven’t seen in a couple of years heading straight at me!

Her name is Maria.

She had been a neighbor of my friend and co-worker, Bethany, back when I was living in Catania a couple of years ago.

When I returned to Sicily last Fall, I had tried calling and messaging the phone number I had for Maria but was unsuccessful in contacting her. I heard from mutual friends a couple of months ago she had gone to Germany for work. They were unsure when she would return.

Now here I was, face-to-face with this sweet friend.

As soon as I saw her, everything made sense. I knew why I had missed the bus on Wednesday and accidentally waited at the wrong bus stop yesterday preventing me from making it into Catania on either of these days. I realized why I had taken notice of the store where I had just stopped to browse, why I had taken as much time as I did to look around and why I had purchased the seemingly inconsequential items. I understood why I had stopped by the store first rather than going there after I swung by the police station.

Maria too, was not walking a street she usually takes. Most of the time, Maria walks on the street located one block north of where our paths intersected. It was because of a particularly delicious “panificio” (bread bakery) located on the corner where we met, that Maria had taken a slightly different route this morning, in order to purchase a few small loaves of bread.

Had she still been inside the bakery as I walked by, I never would have seen her.

Are there decisions you’ve made or events that have unfolded recently that have left you hurt, confused, frustrated or insecure? I second-guess myself far too often and am so quick to forget that no matter what happens, God is still on His throne. He is still in full control of every thing in the universe.


While God’s complete sovereignty is a mystery beyond my ability to comprehend, I can see however, that “running into” Maria was no random coincidence. There was no chance involved in us meeting today. God had every last factor under His complete control. All that transpired in the hours, days and weeks beforehand was needed to bring me right where I was supposed to be today and at just the right moment.

All at once, I didn’t mind what had happened the last two mornings that had kept me from coming into Catania Wednesday and Thursday.

These events have me wondering though: what other situations in my life have me frustrated or annoyed because I don’t yet see how they are working themselves out for my good and God’s glory?

Here’s hoping this incident will be a fresh reminder the next time I am tempted to think something didn’t happen as it should have, as if God wasn’t in complete control or didn’t have a plan and purpose in even the smallest of matters.

He knows what He’s doing.

If only I would remember and fully believe this one simple truth!


Want to read another ripe banana story about “sacred intersections“? Click here!


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