Just a Coincidence?

Today’s Thankful Thursday is dedicated to a very special friend, Johnny Harkins. To some, the way we met could be considered coincidental but Johnny and I both know it was a God-incidence.

Travel with me back in time to April 2007. Rick and I were shopping for a camper at a dealer in Phoenix. When we went back to close the deal and pick up our new camper, we were also scheduled for a walk-thru to familiarize us with all the systems in the camper. Upon our arrival, we were told that the person originally scheduled to take us on our walk-thru was not able to be there that morning. Instead they assigned another of their employees to do the honors.

Enter Johnny.

Rick and I spent the next hour or so being educated on the systems and idiosyncrasies of our new camper. Johnny was very knowledgeable and gracious in explaining everything to us and easily answered all of our questions. As I listened to him speak, I was struck by his quiet yet friendly manner.

For some reason, I felt the need to ask Johnny if he was a Christian. [Johnny, we both know Who gave me that urge, huh?] When he replied, “Yes,” I shared with him that I was a devotional writer. You cannot imagine the surprise on both of our faces as he told me he had an online devotional ministry and was looking for writers. Was I interested? Ummm… YES!!!

That was the beginning of a wonderful, God-ordained friendship: our God-incidence. If the other technician had been there to give us our tour, Rick and I would never have met Johnny, and I wouldn’t be sitting here right now sharing this all with you.

GEM Ministries

Through Johnny’s ministry—GEM Ministries—I have had the opportunity to virtually meet his other writers and have formed a close bond with some of them. Even though Johnny and I only live a couple of hours apart, I never had the opportunity to spend more time with him until two years ago. I was in Phoenix visiting my children and Johnny invited me to go to church with him. Here’s a photo of that visit:

Johnny, I am truly blessed to have you in my life and am so thankful for you and your special ministry. I love the way God works in our lives in such obvious and special ways!

This is how I see my friendship with Johnny:

You are my friends if you do what I command.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

—John 15:14-16

Again, thank you, Johnny, for the gift of your friendship. May God continue to bless you and Sylvia (and your family) and your work. And may He continue to use you in so many lives to advance His kingdom here on earth!