John Oaks is a singer/songwriter. John was playing keyboard and singing backup for a friend in a Starbucks in Manhattan just a skip up from Times Square. During a rendition of, If You Don’t Know Me by Now, he noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from him. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

After the tune faded, the woman approached Oaks.

“I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked.

“No,” he replied. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?” To his delight, she accepted the invitation.

God’s eye was on a sparrow at Starbucks.

“You choose,” he said. “What are you in the mood to sing?”

“Well … do you know any hymns?”

He said, “Name one.”

“Oh, I don’t know. There are so many good ones. You pick one.”

“Okay,” he replied. “How about, His Eye is on the Sparrow?”

John says, “My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, ‘Yeah. Let’s do that.’

She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With his two-bar setup, she began to sing:

“Why should I be discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?”

I Sing Because

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed.

“I sing because I’m happy;
I sing because I’m free.
For His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me.”

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar. He embraced his new friend. “You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!”

“It’s funny that you picked that particular hymn,” she said.

“Why is that?”

I’m Going To Be OK

She hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite song.”

She grabbed his 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.”

He said the first thing that found its way through the silence. “Are you going to be okay?”

She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed his hands. “I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and everything’s gonna be just fine.” She picked up her bag, gave him her card, and then she was gone.

God’s Arrangements

Was it just a coincidence that John happened to be singing in that particular Starbucks 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, he just happened to pick the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the week before?

God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning of time, and it’s no stretch to imagine that he could reach into a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival.

Its a great reminder that if we keep trusting Him and singing his songs, everything’s gonna be okay.

APPLICATION: God knows what you need. Please leave a comment below. Who else can you share this story with that needs some encouragement?


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Bob Jones

Bob Jones

Happily married to Jocelyn for 40 years. We have two adult sons, Cory and his wife Lynsey and their son Vinnie and daughter Jayda; Jean Marc and his wife Angie and their three daughters, Quinn, Lena and Annora. I love being a pastor and inspiring others through communicating, blogging, and coaching. I enjoy writing, running, reading, and ball hockey. I'm a fan of the Esks, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Pats. Follow me on Twitter @bobjones49ers

One Comment

  • Carole Schlachta says:

    Wonderful story! Every time I feel as though I’m stuck in my self-pity or fear, I play Larnell Harris’ rendition at a Gaither rally. It awakens your heart and makes one realize we are all of us God’s children.
    Could that lady have been an angel sent from the Lord?
    Absolutely!

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