In Mysterious Ways…

I’m in Williamsburg this evening – getting ready to go to bed, but my mind keeps going back to thinking about today. So many things happened that just weren’t planned. And that’s a good thing, because when you are a pastor, or at least somebody who is attuned to the needs of others, you must always be on alert for people who may need a kind word, a hug, or just plain encouragement.

For starters, as I headed to the airport in Indy this morning, I thought about the day ahead. Nothing special – just an ordinary travel day. After passing though security, I went to have my shoes shined by the regular guy I know at the airport, and sure enough, he needed to talk. Oddly, the gate I was headed to was literally right across from his stand so I was able to spend additional time with him and learn about what was going on in his life. Coincidence? I don’t think so…

The first leg of the flight, to Charlotte, was rather uneventful. For some reason, I just looked at the paper and sat there with my eyes closed – a simple reminder of the need for a little peace in my own life. And then, the touchdown in Charlotte and the mad rush to get off the jet. I stopped at several shops and then entered the USAir club. I checked in and found a seat in the rather crowded club. Several minutes later, I thought I recognized someone, an old family friend, and sure enough, when I called out her name, she looked up and greeted me. Of all the places in the world, this was the last place I expected to see her.

Other people must have thought we were a little nuts – hugging in some airport lounge, but you know what, it didn’t matter. She has had some tough stuff going on and just needed an old friend to spend a few minutes with her; listening to her story. And what a privilege it was for me to play that pastoral role. She is one of our dearest friends, who was one of the first people we met when we moved to Indiana 30 years ago. I can’t think of anything that Janet or I wouldn’t do for her. What an honor for God to choose that moment to allow me to enter her life – in a totally unexpected way in a totally unexpected place. Coincidence? I don’t think so…

After she left, I received a call from someone who just needed to process something with me. Another person who just wanted to reach out and touch base – needing a word of encouragement. Coincidence? Well, by now you know my response to that…

Then the walk to the gate for the second leg of my flight into Newport News. In all of the years that I have travelled and all the times I have been in Williamsburg, I have never flown into this airport. But I had to get there first. And you know what? When we boarded the little Embraer jet, we found out that the air conditioning wasn’t working. So we sat in 90 degree heat, in a metallic cylinder, with all the shades pulled down. They even had an announcement that anyone who felt faint could push their “call” button and the flight attendant would deliver a cold cloth with ice to be applied to your forehead if you felt faint. There were people struggling with the heat until near the end of the flight.

By the way, the windows were covered, to keep the temperature in the cabin down, and it is the only flight that I have ever been on when you didn’t look out from the time you boarded until the jet was at the gate in its next destination. In fact, it was kind of weird to not know when you were actually lifting off or touching down, let alone anything else. Go figure…

When we finally landed in Newport News, those of us who had gate checked bags were standing on the jetway; waiting for our stuff. A young army man, dressed in full uniform, came off the plane and walked dejectedly up the gangway. An older man in the crowd called out to him, “Thank you for your service, young man!”. Immediately, he turned around, a broad smile stretched across his face and he thanked the man who had recognized his service to our country. Several others echoed the sentiment and the serviceman’s countenance changed dramatically. The spring in his step returned almost immediately and his entire attitude changed. Coincidence – I don’ think so. God used that moment to allow others to reach out and serve that dejected army man.  It was really something to behold.

All this goes to show, in one day, how many times we may be called upon to reach out and allow others to see God through our actions. And it is a blessing to be able to experience those kinds of events. The verse tonight is about how God already knows the tasks we will be assigned by Him. We are told, in Psalm 139:1-4, “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.”

My encouragement this evening is that God has put you at this time and place for a reason. And that reason is to help others when God urges you to do so – even if it is in mysterious ways.  My prayer is that you will take that responsibility very seriously and remember how it felt the last time God sent somebody to care for you. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

Leave a Comment