A Happenstance Meeting
By: Immaculee Ilibagiza
Last week I had a happenstance meeting at the airport with the famous Television preacher and author, Joel Osteen, who was sitting in a quiet corner. Something fateful attracted me to that area, because I was actually walking blindly reading, I kid you not, Joel Osteen blog on my phone, when I literally bumped into his wife Victoria!
Was I dreaming? It seemed as if the words on my phone came to life! Well, it was a dream come true, because they are two people I admire greatly for their work installing hope in millions.
I instantly expressed how much I love his work, and how he always helped me gain a new and positive perspective in a certain area of my life. I was then delighted and surprised that he found time in his busy life to read my book, as, well, and as we shared our mutual respect for nearly a half hour, I learned he is genuinely the kind man I thought he was, who is doing his best to bring people to God.
His work can teach us that we are also called, within our capacity, to serve God and His people. God knows our unique gifts, and knows how much it matters if we use them to help him in big or small ways.
Fast forward to this past Sunday when a friend sent me a link of Joel's teaching...and there he was talking about my story! What an honor! He was sincere when he told me he read my book! However, the reason I am sharing this story with you is the reason why I respect him in the first place. His perspective and ability to relay his message to others is special, and actually made me look at my purpose with fresh eyes. He used my story to illustrate that "God's plan will come to pass!" He spoke about how close I came to dying during the genocide, and how God protected me over and over again, and now how God is using me to speak about His love and mercy. He couldn't put it any better because it is my ultimate desire for people to know that God is really, REAL!
He loves us even when we think He is not there. He exists and answers prayers, and He keeps His promises He gave us in the Bible.
Joel's teaching was about God having a purpose for all of us, and how our individual deeds makes up a whole majority. He made us in His image, and has blessed each one of us with life. He wants us to do our part to fulfill His will. I understood from his teaching that our purpose, no matter the task, is important to Him, and it will come to pass no matter how or what is working against. you. If you ask Him daily to help; you do His will, you can have confidence that no one has power over you as long as you belong to God.
Many of us wonder, "what about those who die?" Maybe, it is in our death that we will serve God's will. We don't know how He wants to use us, so our only earthly peace comes from surrendering to God, no matter how painful it may be. Remember the children in Fatima, Jacinta and Francisco, when Mary told them God wanted them in Heaven. Their short lives have inspired generations for nearly a century and will continue to do so. I never thought God loved me more than those who died during the genocide, it was simply that their journey was over, and mine was not! God still had work for me to do, and I continue to ask Him to help me be obedience to whatever He has planned for me, because I know how this life can be so short. Our purpose here only makes sense when we let go of this life and focus on preparing for what is Eternal!
Let us try to live God's plan for us, serve Him, comfort others, and help them to do the same, so that no one is left behind.
In Jeremiah 29: 11, Our Lord tells us, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Note: Please let your friends in New York know about the upcoming retreat, June 29-30!@ It is a rare chance to have Fr. Ubald in the USA and Fr. Leszek! Fr. Ubald is a gifted healing priest like no other I have seen. He prays and he says after, who healed and what they healed form. Can you image! I have witnessed many, many miracles through his hands...!