RITE OF PASSAGE: Divine disappointments
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at McGregor Church in Ft. Myers, Fla. I preached on “Our Disappointments are God’s Divine Appointments.” It was an incredible morning. I left immediately after the third service and arrived at the airport in time to catch my 3:10 flight. As soon as I reached the gate, I heard an announcement. A medical emergency had rerouted the incoming flight, delaying mine.
Knowing I had a few hours to kill, I started walking around to see what God was up to. As I reached the end of the concourse, I heard, “Walker, Walker.” Turning around, I recognized the man who was calling my name. Only a few hours before, he had come forward in the service, asking me to pray with him. We didn’t get to talk very long because so many others needed my attention, but I had told him I would remember him in prayer. Now, I had run into him at the airport. We were able to have an extended visit and exchange addresses. I was so excited that God would use my disappointment to allow me to minister to this young man!
When we finally boarded the plane, I found myself in the center seat in row 39. There are only two things that I hate about flying: 1. Sitting in the back of the plane, and 2. Sitting in the center seat. I have a touch of claustrophobia (I think it started in the womb). On this day, I was stuck in both the back of the plane and the middle seat. I guess you could say I was . . . disappointed.
The window seat beside me was empty. As I made small talk with the woman in the aisle seat, I said, “I hope no one comes so we can have an empty seat between us.” I finished that comment and looked up to see a lady standing in the aisle, staring at us with reddened eyes. She said, “I am sitting there,” pointing to the empty seat. She sat down next to me and said, “I am sorry; I am very upset. But God has given me a sign.” The sign she pointed to was the woman on my other side, reading The Testament by John Grisham. I told her that I was a minister of the Gospel, so I had both Old and New Testaments.
Through her tears, she began to tell me her story. Her 12-year-old niece had just died. She had somehow fallen from a 12-story balcony to her death. This woman had flown from Los Angeles to attend the girl’s funeral. While she was there, her husband called and told her his 39-year old brother, who had been battling cancer, was probably not going to make it through the day. She was trying to get home as quickly as possible.
She told me she had faith that God would take care of everything if she just . . . believed. I began to share with her the love of Christ. I told her that not only did He want her to believe in Him, but He also wanted to have a relationship with her. I explained that God sent Jesus to die on the cross to make that possible.
As we approached Atlanta, I asked if she would like to repent of her sins and receive Christ as her Savior. She said she would. I told her that I could help her ask Jesus into her heart, but that she would have to pray out loud. (I didn’t realize that she was going to emphasize the “loud” part). Right there, with a faith of a child, she . . . did. When she had finished praying, I asked a simple question: “Where is Jesus?” She started patting her heart, saying with a smile, “Right here, right here.”
Then I asked another simple question, “How do you know that He is there?” Again, she smiled and said, “I asked Him to come into my heart.”
I smiled back, saying, “That’s right.” I continued to share with her the benefits of having Christ in her life. Now, she would not have to carry her burdens alone. Now, she could cast all of her cares upon . . . Him.
The plane landed, and I had to say good-bye so I could rush to my next flight. Wouldn’t you know, I missed it and had to spend the night in Atlanta. As I waited one more time, I kept reminding myself, “Our disappointment is God’s divine appointment.”
Today, when you go to our Father in prayer, would you ask Him to be with Lucy? She’s a part of our family now. And that, my friend, is . . . no disappointment.