Timing is everything. Speaking the right word, being in the right place, doing the right thing. They all mean nothing if they’re not done at the right time. For me, it was about wearing the right coat at the right time. The red coat, to be exact. It all started when my parents wanted me to meet their new friend, John. It wasn’t a set up; they knew better than that. John was just traveling through town for work and I was visiting for the holidays, nothing more. For 36 hours we were in the same place at the same time. I didn’t know this man from Adam and his imminent arrival brought nothing but a hint of indifference to my heart. I thought he would blow through town like any of the other millions of visitors that have made their way through my parents’ house over the years and that would be that. My expectations for our encounter were nonexistent so I certainly wasn’t harboring any picturesque fantasies of falling in love. But that didn’t stop my parents from praying. (I feel confident their requests consisted of fervent pleadings with the Lord to please give them grandchildren already, but I could be wrong.) The day was overcast, as it often is in January, and cold. I describe the weather in Louisiana as one long season of summer interrupted by one week of winter. This was that week. So I grabbed a coat, my trusty fleece, and headed to the kitchen to wait for John to grace us with his presence. I was rounding the corner unsuspectingly when I looked up to find my mom eyeing my coat. “Is that the only coat you brought?” Her words were said with love and gentleness and a hefty dose of concern. “Nooo.” I drew the word out slowly, my eyes questioning why she cared about my coat. After all, we were going to eat Mexican food. No need to dress up for that. And who was I trying to impress? Absolutely no one. I just wanted some chips and salsa and I didn’t want my nice coat to smell like Mexico for the next week. “Don’t you have a red coat?” I began laughing as I realized the reason for her inquisition. John. “Do you really think the red coat is going to make or break my chances of finding someone?” My tone left no doubt as to my stance. In my opinion, the coat was completely irrelevant. Her response, “You never know.” Well I thought I did know but I wore the red coat anyway just to humor her. The truth is, only God knows whether or not that coat made one whit of difference. But the one thing I know is that I was never the same. The conversation with my mom over a silly red coat planted two words firmly in my mind. What if. What if this time were different. All of a sudden those two words began to chip away at my confidence and I had to consider the fact that she might be right. Maybe God would use something like a simple red coat to open the door to a divine encounter. Maybe He would take something mundane, like bundling up for cold weather, give it a little pizzazz in the form of a red coat, and transform it into a turning point. A place from which there is no return. And that’s exactly what He did. There was nothing magic about the red coat. It just represented a moment when God did something different. Something divine. Something only He could do. God used that now infamous red coat to open the door to a friendship that quickly brought me to a point of no return. Not because we fell in love, because we didn’t. But because that friendship led to trust, which led to healing, which led to freedom, which led to authenticity. Which led to this. Telling the story of God’s faithfulness through writing. That’s what happens when you wear the right coat at the right time.
There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven.
The ways of God are without fault. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield to all who
look to him for protection.
Psalm 18:30 (NCV, NLT)