I’m sitting in a hotel room near Princeton, NJ tonight – missing Janet. I just returned to the room after a dinner with friends and don’t even feel like turning on the the TV. It’s quiet, with the exception of the noise of the fridge in the background.
The last several days I have been recovering from a cold and so I have been trying to take it a little easier than usual, knowing that this trip, and one more, are both on the calendar within the next week. Things have been a little hectic lately – Kristin and the divorce, finding a house to buy for her and the three boys, Janet’s RA diagnosis, making decisions for a number of clients that have serious downstream impact, and even terminating an advisor who has worked with one of my clients for more than 10 years. It has been a weird couple of weeks.
The thing that I have noticed is that I find myself trying to strategize longterm solutions for a number of things going on, and that just isn’t the way I should work. I know better than that. So this morning, I decided on the way to the airport, that I was going to have somewhat of an introspective day while I travelled out east. No distractions – just me and God at 37,000 feet. I haven’t done as much of that as I should have lately. And to be truthful, I miss that time in reflection and prayer.
Things didn’t start out as calm as I would have liked. Some guy the size of King Kong was sitting in the row ahead of me and of course, we barely got up in the air before he was reclining in my lap. Thankfully, nobody was in the seat next to me so I was able to at least get a little comfortable. I thought I would close my eyes and just chill out during the flight. But sometime about 30 minutes in, I had this strong urge to listen to one of my videocasts from Dallas Theological Seminary – it’s been a while since I have done that, although it used to be normal behavior for me during air travel.
I pulled out the Bose headphones, turned on the iPad and selected the first unwatched message. It was by Charles Swindoll, Chancellor of DTS, and a wonderful pastor who always keeps me interested in his thoughts because of his pulpit demeanor. It was on our need to trust God……. as he put it, two little words we have heard countless times, but words that we try to manipulate to achieve our earthly agenda. As embarrassing as it sounds, they were words I needed to hear today.
The message was good, but those two words were great. The longer I thought about my life, the more I once again realized that God is in control and it is important for me to be a fully dedicated follower of Him. Not just in name, but in deed. And that means that I should want to put my trust in Father and in the power of the cross. And you know what? Every time I submit to the will of God, I find immense peace just around the corner; instead of the anxiety I feel when I struggle with the need to try and control outcomes.
I listened through the 45 minutes message and just sat there when it was over. No books or magazines, just the headphones muffling the sound of the engines. As quiet as quiet can be on a small jet with a hundred other passengers. I was sad when the flight was over. I took my time deplaning and headed to the ground transportation area where I was to take a shuttle to the Avis lot. Deep in thought, I was approached by some wild, red-eyed guy who seemed to be high on something. He asked me for money, I told him “not today” and headed out the door of the terminal. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him move down the corridor to the next unsuspecting traveller.
Something inside me tugged just a bit – I don’t know why, but I had this strong urge to go back and try to find the guy. I resisted the temptation and headed down toward the shuttle area. By the time I got there, ten other people were also waiting for the shuttle. I reached into my pocket, found some money, rolled it up in my hand, and decided to head back to the terminal. To this moment, I don’t know why I did it. I started back….. Just then, another young man, who I thought was getting ready to board the bus, stopped me and asked for a little money.
He explained that he was not entirely broke, but that he was collecting bus fare to get to his destination. I impulsively reached into my pocket and gave him the money I had already rolled up in my hand. Instantly, I felt a sense of relief. It was almost as if God had tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that what I did “for the least of these” I did for Him. Wow – a second chance – all the in the space of three minutes or so.
Now I know that this could sound campy to a number of you, but it was real to me. Was it a case of God asking me to trust Him? I don’t know…. The verse for tonight comes from Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
My encouragement this evening is that you will reach out and reaffirm your commitment to trust God so that you can be drawn closer to Him. And my prayer is that God will keep you in the center of His will for your life; resulting in peace that can only be experienced by being in communion with the Father. Grace and peace,