I've just had a coffee with a boy from the school I taught at 20 years ago. He looked much the same. But older. Apparently the same is true for me.
We ended up in a coffee shop just off Oxford Circus because God is at work through every detail of our lives. He doesn't give up on us. Even when we take a break from him. Paddy had taken a 20 year break.
He'd come to Christ through Christian summer holidays and the school Christian Union. But then came life and uni and, as so often happens, Jesus drifted into the background. But our faithful Father never lets go of his children.
So when Paddy and his wife wanted to get their kids into the best local school, they had to go to their local Church of England Church to do so. It just so happened it was a church where they heard the great news about Jesus.
Once their son started at the school they met the parents in their year. It just so happened that one of them was a minister who had helped with the Christian holidays that Paddy had been on and had been to speak at his school CU. A shy retiring bloke called Rico Tice. They got chatting.
This summer Paddy and his wife felt that they should tell the parents that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour and was being operated on before starting a course of radio and chemo therapy, so that they could try and avoid their children suffering under the misinformation of the playground. So Rico offered to go round to listen and pray. And it just so happened that he told Paddy that I was in London now and then sent me Paddy's number so I could get in touch.
The result was that I found myself sitting opposite a man with a huge scar down one side of his head, who looked very like a boy I once knew, who only 6 weeks ago had had a scan that revealed a malignant tumour. He was a man who could tell me of the peace that he knew from God. He could talk about the certainty he had of life after death with Jesus. And he could say that his biggest concern was for his wife and children if the treatment wasn't successful.
He could only say all this because God just so happened to be faithfully at work in his life. All of his life.
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8