I once read that a coincidence is just when God chooses to remain anonymous....... The SPARROW at STARBUCKS
The song that silenced the cappuccino machineIt was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway,
just a skip up from Times Square . Early November weather in New York City holds only the
slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it's enough to send the
masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently,
the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right
chords that night, because our basket was almost overflowing.It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who
also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from
the '40s to the '90s with a few original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the
classic, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across
from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it
bother you?" she asked.
"No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next
selection?"To my delight, she accepted my invitation. "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?""Well. ... do you know any hymns?"Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before
I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look. "Name one.""Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one.""Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said,
"Yeah. Let's do that one."
She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center
of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.
Why should I be discouraged?Why should the shadows come?The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino
machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to
I sing because I'm happy;I sing because I'm free.For His eye is on the sparrowAnd I know He watches me.When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have
rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din,
"Oh, you go back to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get
somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. "You,
my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!""Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.
"Why is that?"
"Well . .." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite song."
"Really!" I exclaimed.
"Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it
was business as usual.. "She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week."I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence. "Are you going to be okay?"She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm going to be okay. I just have to
keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything's going to be just fine." She picked up
her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that particular coffee shop on that
particular November night? Coincidence that this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that
particular shop? Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick the
very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before? I refuse to
believe it.God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it's no
stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn
an ordinary gig into a revival. It was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing
his songs, everything's gonna be okay.The next time you feel like GOD can't use YOU, just remember...
Noah was a drunk Abraham was too old Isaac was a daydreamer Jacob was a liar Leah was ugly Joseph was abused Moses had a stuttering problem Gideon was afraid Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer Rahab was a prostitute Jeremiah and Timothy were too young David had an affair and was a murderer Elijah was suicidal Isaiah preached naked Jonah ran from God Naomi was a widow Job went bankrupt John the Baptist ate bugs Peter denied Christ The Disciples fell asleep while praying Martha worried about everything The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once Zaccheus was too small Paul was too religious Timothy had an ulcer Lazarus was dead! No more excuses now!!God can use you to your full potential. Besides you aren't the message,
you are just the messenger.
Pass this on to someone else, if you'd like. There is NO LUCK attached.If you delete this, it's okay: God's Love Is Not Dependent On E-Mail. Author: John Thomas Oaks