Harder Family

Harder Family

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Chance Encounter

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace."

This verse came to my mind as I was thinking about the beautiful fall colors we experienced today as we visited Starved Rock. There is a season for everything, as Solomon expresses in the passage above. The season we are in right now is not one I would have picked, but God has allowed this season in our life to mold and shape us into who He desires us to be. Molding comes in different ways. Sometimes it is through reading a passage of scripture, sometimes through life experiences (like our trip downtown this week), sometimes through friendships, sometimes through a song or a sermon, and the list goes on. 

After spending time studying God and His character, one thing I don't believe in is chance encounters. I believe every person we meet or have contact with is part of God's plan. How we choose to interact and respond is our way of participating in God's plans. Today when we arrived at Starved Rock, we just "happened" to park next to another family who decided to hike Starved Rock today. As we were getting out of the van, we started polite conversation with them. They had been eating lunch in their van as well since they had little kids. After a few minutes, the husband told Wayne that he couldn't help but notice that they both had similar scars on their heads. After talking with them, we discovered that he also had brain cancer, diagnosed in September of 2014. Wayne and him chatted for a few minutes, exchanging brief stories, and then did introductions. His wife's name was Beckah (wow, what a coincidence...Beckah and Rebecca. I'm bad with names, so I was thrilled with an easy name to remember). We all went on our way after a few minutes. Our first stop, of course, was the restrooms. While Wayne was waiting for us, he saw Dan again and asked him if he'd like to exchange phone numbers. Wayne thought what I was thinking in the bathroom, did we just miss an opportunity? When this kind of situation seems to drop in your lap, you have to ask God to use it as He desires. I never want to miss an opportunity that God brings our way. I don't know where this will lead, but it is always nice to know other people going through the same experience. I wish, of course, that none of us were going through this. But, if you are going to experience suffering, why not allow God to use it to the fullest for His glory? How about you? Have you had any "chance encounters"? Let's all keep our eyes open for opportunities around us to interact with the world and shine the love of Jesus to them.


  1. Hi there Rebecca!
    I am the other Becca--wife to a husband battling a brain tumor/cancer--that you briefly met today at Starved Rock! What an awesome God ordained meeting! After Wayne gave us your names, I found your blog and have been reading many of your entries in our car ride. I just wanted to let you know that I've definitely been touched by your blog. So many things you wrote, I just smiled because I'm pretty sure I've said and written many of the same things over the past year. Thank you for sharing your story and you guys will be in our prayers and you tackle this last week of chemo! Lots of love!
    Becca Jensen (ps: here is my blog-writergirl5787.wordpress.com. I didn't document quite as much as you! I kept a caring bridge site for Dan's tumor updates: www.caringbridge.orf/visit/danieljensen) (pps feel free to find me on Facebook or anything too, if that's easier! We'd love to continue to get to know you guys and at the very least, like you said, know other people walking a similar journey. God certainly has a cool way of bringing people together!)

  2. It was very neat to meet another family who is going through the same journey, and so good to know they are journeying with God as they walk through these waters! They will be in our prayers as well.

  3. I was Becca's mom in the car next to you.

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