I parked the car, laced up my tennis shoes and headed out for my daily walk. The crisp, fall air felt cool on my skin. I strolled past tourists and speciality shops on my way to the boardwalk. Once there, I picked up my pace. I noticed how choppy the water was on the bay. The sailboats pitched back and forth on the rough water. I followed my normal course east, then turned south toward a lush, green park area. Unexpectedly, a strong, cold gust of wind came off the water. My hair whipped in my face, and I decided to turn back and continue to head east. I walked past the boat docks on my right and the hotels and restaurants on my left. I watched the people around me. Some were exercising like me, others I branded as convention goers because of the name tag that hung from the lanyard around their neck and some were there simply enjoying the day. But one person was out of place.
A little girl, with jet black hair was several feet in front of me. I couldn't see her face, but I could tell she was wiping away tears with the long sleeves of her pink sweatshirt. My mother's heart went out to her and I watched to see who she belonged to. There was a couple several feet ahead of her. The woman continued to walk, but the man slowed down and turned the girl's way several times. They must be her parents, I thought. She is probably upset and they are giving her space to work it out. I slowed my pace and continued to watch. Something didn't feel right. I turned down a driveway and kept my eye on the little girl. Abruptly, the child turned around and began to walk west. The couple who I assumed to be her parents kept walking east. There was no one else around. My intuition was right, she was alone.
I returned to the boardwalk and carefully walked up beside the little girl." Are you okay?" I asked her. "Are you lost?" Tears streamed from her eyes. She nodded and whispered, "Yes." Poor thing, I sensed a battle within her between the rule not to talk to a stranger and her desperate need for help. I tried to assure her that I was a safe person---a mommy and grandma. And, I asked her several questions, as I steered her to a nearby restaurant where I hoped we could contact the security personnel.
"Do you believe in God," I asked. She shrugged her shoulders. I told her I did and that I was praying He would help us to find her dad. "Where was the last place you remember being with your daddy?" I asked. The description she gave was of a place pretty far away. My concern grew, until she exclaimed, "I know my daddy's phone number." (Oh praise God! That would have been a good question to ask up front)
Within minutes, I contacted her father who happened to be with the police who were frantically searching for the little girl. With tears still pouring down her face, we slowly walked down the boardwalk to meet them. I almost froze with fear as a half-a-dozen uniformed officers, the little girl's father, her little brother and others approached us. One officer flipped open his pad to question me. (Oh man, what have I gotten myself into I thought.) After the reunion, the father told his little girl to thank me. I gave her a big hug. And I explained to her dad what a brave girl she was and how wise she had been in giving me careful answers. The search party wanted to know all the details. So, I explained everything over and over.
Finally, shaken to the core, I returned to my walk. When I came to the park where I had turned around earlier, the air was still. The wind had stopped. Suddenly it dawned on me, God changed the path I walk almost every day. He sent a cold, strong, blast of wind to turn me around. In amazement, I realized that God knew a little girl was lost and alone and in need of help. He was watching over her. And He knew the perfect way to redirect my steps to point me in the direction that would send her the help she needed.
Afterwards, I posted a snippet of this story on Facebook. My friend, Nikki, commented, You're posts always remind me to look for the divine in the mundane day-to-day. Proverbs 16:9 says, We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. If we will look, I believe we can regularly discover the divine in the mundane day-to-day stuff of life. How about you? Can you think of a time when God changed your plans and reordered your steps to be part of the divine?