“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
To Beth it was the confusion of an inept airline. To me, it was a divine appointment from God.
“I don’t have an assigned seat,” the disheveled young woman complained as she stumbled into the airplane.
“This one is empty,” I pointed out.
“Thanks,” she huffed as she plopped down.
The beautiful young lady was obviously exhausted. She was dressed in skin-tight jeans and a distracting low-cut T-shirt. Her flip-flops slid under her feet to reveal a tattoo on the top of her foot. Sunglasses hid something…I wasn’t sure what. She looked straight ahead, but I felt that her mind was traveling to a distant place.
After the plane left the ground, I pulled out a book I had written to prepare for an upcoming radio interview. Put the book down and talk to this girl, God seemed to say.
God, she doesn’t want to talk. I can tell by her body language. She’s not interested in conversation, I mentally argued.
Put the book down and talk to this girl.(God can be very persistent. Especially when it comes to one of his little lost lambs.)
I closed the book and turned to this…kid.
“So, where are you headed?” I asked.
“Home,” she replied.
“Right outside of Charlotte,” she replied. “It’s a small town. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it.”
“Were you in Florida on business or pleasure?” I continued.
“I was visiting my boyfriend,” she answered.
Then she took off her sunglasses to reveal red swollen eyes. She glanced down at the book in my lap. “Your Scars are Beautiful to God,” she read, “that’s an interesting topic. I’ve got lots of scars.”
“So do I,” I replied. “That’s why I wrote the book.”
“You wrote that book?”
For the next hour and 90 minutes, this young girl poured out her heart. She had been abandoned by her birth father and sexually abused by several men in her life. She was on this flight home because her boyfriend, who had just come out of a drug rehabilitation center, had “roughed her up.” Actually, she was fleeing. My heart broke as this beautiful young girl told me story after story of cruelties that had been doneto her mingled with bad choices that had been made through her. At the moment, her life resembled a 100-car train wreck with one lone survivor who was in desperate need of life resuscitation.
As my mind engaged with Beth (not her real name), my spirit communed with God. What do I do? I prayed. So much hurt. So much pain.
Pray for her…now.
“Beth, would you mind if I prayed for you?”
“No,” she said with a quiver in her voice. “I’d like that.”
I held Beth’s hand and God’s sorrow for this girl filled my heart. It wasn’t just a “God bless Beth,” sort of prayer. I sobbed. It was as if God’s pain for this girl I didn’t even know was flowing through me.
As God would have it, Beth and I were in the front row of a very sparsely filled plane. The only person paying any attention to us was the flight attendant who sat facing us in her jump seat. I’m not sure, but I think God was working in her heart as well.
When the plane landed, I handed Beth the book, we exchanged e-mails, and embraced one last time. Since then, we have kept in touch and Beth has continued her journey for peace and purpose. Her stepfather wrote me a letter expressing his appreciation for taking the time to minister to his “little girl.” He wrote: “I had been praying for God to send Beth an angel, and I believe He did.”
Well, I’m no angel, that’s for sure. But I believe the angels were hovering around us in that plane.
One of the great mysteries of the Christian life is that God has given us great power through prayer. Through the pages of the Bible and the volumes of history, we see God mightily working on behalf of those who seek Him through prayer.
All through our lives, there will be times when we feel powerless. But friend, we are never more powerful than when we use our words in prayer. I was only with Beth a few hours in that airplane, but God’s power was evident when we grasped hands and prayed. His transforming power did more in a few moments than any human could have done in years.
So keep your eyes open. You could be someone’s miracle today.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!