In a previous article I promised to tell you about the divine appointment which awaited me on my trip to Missouri because I wanted you to get a clearer understanding of what it means to sail smoothly through the frustrating perplexities of daily life totally confident that when we yield to the Spirit of God everything that happens to us is being orchestrated by Him so that it will ultimately work out for our good and for His glory. It is during those times when it seems like we are paddling upstream that we need to remind ourselves that God is at the helm and readily allow Him to steer the course.
My flight was delayed from the ‘get-go’ so I had to spend the next six hours trying to catch any flight to any where which would get me to my final destination. I never dreamed that the weather could be so nasty during that time of year. By the time I had to reclaim my luggage for the third time and drag it back to the departure area, where they kept reassuring me that they would get me to where I needed to be, I felt as if I had walked no less than a hundred miles. My bags, though on wheels, had become very cumbersome and a total nuisance by then. The funny thing was, even though it is not unusual for planes to be delayed and connecting flights to get messed up in bad weather, I began to sense that God had a divine purpose and that He wanted me on a particular plane at a particular time.
Eventually, I boarded a plane which was deployed to handle all the backed up traffic and was therefore mostly empty. Just as the hatch was about to close, a very flamboyant and extremely charismatic individual, who was chatting nonchalantly, but much too loudly on his cell phone, turned to the steward and said, "Have you got anything in First Class?" The steward replied quite sarcastically, as if he had encountered this ploy many times before, that First Class was booked solid but that he could have his pick of seats anywhere else on the plane.
Even though he was obviously dripping in wealth, from his full length leather coat, that was noticeably worth more than an average person’s entire wardrobe, to the very expensive laptop case that was casually draped over his shoulder, everyone could tell from his telephone conversation, which was loud enough for everyone on the plane to hear, that he was accustomed to slipping into First Class free of charge.
Undaunted by the negative rebuttal and behaving like a movie star, he parked himself one row behind and across the aisle from me and began a flirtatious power struggle with the stewardess who was trying to get him to end his call. Moments later I couldn’t help but overhear him negotiating with her about the price of a can of beer. She kept repeating that the price was five dollars but he kept offering her three. He explained that he didn’t have a chance to get to an ATM machine so all he had on him was three bucks. Politely she kept repeating, "I’m sorry, sir, a beer costs five dollars."
Without thinking, and before I even knew what I was doing, I reached out my arm and said, "Let me throw in the two dollars!"
Now focusing her attention on me, the stewardess announced, for everyone on the entire plane to hear, "This nice lady is going to buy you a drink."
Completely alarmed at what people might be thinking, I was very quick to explain, very loudly I might add, that I don’t even drink, but that I have been caught short of funds many times and could relate to his predicament."
Ignoring my feeble explanation he immediately dove into the seat opposite mine and began ‘hitting’ on me. Telling him repeatedly that I was NOT trying to pick him up and was on my way to see my grandchildren did not deter him in the least. His mischievous grin got even broader and his eyes became wide with expectation as he bounced around in his seat trying to find out all he could about me. Finally, determined to thwart his advances, I stammered, "I am also an ordained minister and will be preaching in Missouri this coming Sunday!"
His composure changed so dramatically that for a moment I thought the plane had stopped in midair. Suddenly the glitz and the glamour melted into a puddle of raw, broken humanity. He was desperate for something to bring meaning into his empty life. In spite of all his wealth and behind all the smoke and mirrors was a man who bore a gaping hole deep within his soul. He fired question after question at me for the next four and one half hours. I was then privileged to lead him to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is able to fill that void and transform his life forever.
Since we had both attracted a lot of attention and then in our exuberance talked so loudly that most everyone could hear our conversation, we had a very captive audience. I was very delighted to find out later that they felt like they had been to church.