Divine appointment at a NoHo diner
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ … Your heavenly father knows that you need them.” – Jesus, Sermon on the Mount
I have no idea how many times I have read the Sermon on the Mount, but I do know the time its truth exploded in my life – Monday, Oct. 27, 2014.
The Sunday before, I found myself mired in self-doubt and lacking faith. I had moved to Los Angeles a month and a half before, full of vim and vigor and ready to take on the big city. During those six weeks, I had applied for numerous jobs and searched for affordable housing – each rejection slowly whittled away at my enthusiasm.
I didn’t share my feelings with my friends – who were going above and beyond for me – and instead allowed fear of failure to slowly take hold in my life. I did vent my fear and frustration toward God – he’s quite big enough to handle my rantings. I pushed myself to remember the past miracles he had worked in my life – finances, healing – but for some reason housing and work in Los Angeles seemed to be outside his sphere of influence.
I woke up early Monday morning to see an apartment in a nice neighborhood for a decent price. I read the Sermon on the Mount and prayed for wisdom, direction and for God to show himself faithful. When I reached the address, my heart fell a bit. It was a much older building. However, I knew I needed to go inside and check it out – the whole book-and-cover thing. It was worse – old dirty carpet, the stove was in the closet and the bathroom was RV-size.
Disappointment was the tip of my emotional iceberg. So I did what any middle-aged, unemployed woman would do in that situation, I headed for a local diner for the early-bird breakfast special ($4.99 before 10 a.m.). I had seen The Magnolia Grille (four-star Yelp rating) on the map when I Googled directions to the North Hollywood apartment.
I pulled into the parking lot and had little excitement for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to look at more apartments. I didn’t want to look for a job. I was tired, frustrated and just wanted God to give me what I wanted. I did my best to put a halt to my pity party and headed for breakfast.
The diner was not very busy. The waiter was helping someone at the counter and told me to sit wherever. I walked straight ahead and took an empty booth.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that someone walked up to me. I looked up expecting to see the waitress. Instead, I saw a young black man with a smile that made me smile back.
He asked if he could buy my breakfast. At that the moment the verse from the Sermon on the Mount rushed to my heart and mind and I was overcome by emotion. I asked him to sit down and learned his name was John.
He told me how the Spirit told him to buy my breakfast and I told him about reading the verses in Matthew. We talked for quite a while, about family, faith and moving to Los Angeles. Turns out John was originally from Sacramento and had recently moved to the area to pursue music.
When breakfast arrived, he asked to pray and stretched out his hand. I took it. He didn’t just pray a blessing but prayed for my fear and frustration to be lifted. It was the best breakfast prayer meeting ever.
Before he left, he gave me the name and number of his friend who runs a temp agency on the other side of the valley. I thanked him and he walked away.
I sat there staring at my scrambled eggs, fruit and toast and half chuckled and half cried at how God had shown his faithfulness. Things like this didn’t happen to me or even people I knew. But it had, and I was humbled and awed.
Before I could take a bite, John was back and handing me $20. Now I was slightly embarrassed. I told him I had money, that I really would be okay.
He told me that it would take gas to get to the temp agency interview and when the Spirit tells you to do something, you do it. I couldn’t argue with that.
I finished my breakfast and worked on emotionally and spiritually processing the encounter the rest of the day. It bolstered my faith by knocking off the fear and doubt. I had experienced the big miracles – the shock and awe – but this gesture was much more personal, more intimate and proved to be a reconnection point.
With a renewed hope, I restarted looking for an apartment and job on Tuesday. I saw four nice places and was turned down by all. This time instead of frustration, there was fortitude and I found two others to see on Wednesday. On Friday, I got a message that one of the apartments was mine if I wanted it. I listened to the message twice.
I moved in Saturday, November 1, 2014, and I read the Sermon on the Mount in my new place.
I’m still looking for work, but I know things will fall into place. Between friends and divine appointments, I’m going to make it here in the City of Angels.