The D.C. airport, soon after landing, became the site of my personal marathon. It was where I would flex weary muscles of prayer for hours over my adoption trip to Eastern Europe. I needed God’s silence to lift. I needed his guidance, protection, and intervention if things took an ugly turn while I was alone. I needed to feel his closeness and see him working. So, what did I pray for as I began to walk through long corridors and take trams towards my gate? I asked for God to give me wisdom and protection. Little did I know, that He had more in mind.
The first place that I saw God’s hand leading was in the presence of a super sized man that was cruising past me. I sensed God saying–”Walk near him.” So, I did. I lagged just behind his gliding carry on for about ten minutes like a daughter, young wife, or creepy secret admirer. I pulled my suitcase and sped up often to stay on his heals. With my gate in view, there were two things that captured my attention–a caramel frappe with protein and a charging station. Aahh–I could now plop in a chair and decompress a bit.
I distracted myself with the phone–hopping between texting and updating Facebook but it was one text that encouraged me beyond all others. My dad’s text read, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV) Oh boy, I was desperate for those words. At that moment, I felt like God had handed me specific answers on what to do next. It was like He took a second and stood right next to me–yes, even me. My empty cup of caffeinated bliss could never boost me up like the words of strength and courage I had just received. At that point, I began to accept that God hadn’t taken His eyes off of me–not for a second. Thank you Dad G. for encouraging me at just the right moment and not remaining silent.
When my phone rang–my heart must have skipped a beat in spite of my new found courage. “The airlines misunderstood and cancelled your flight instead of your sons’. You will need to leave this gate and go to the C terminal…” Would you believe that was the terminal that I arrived at originally? So after a fifteen minute trek back to terminal C, my new boarding pass triggered the scanner and read–”No entry.” As if I had done something completely criminal, I was told that the new airlines gave away my seat. So, I strolled in sulking obedience back to the B terminal feeling drained and ready for another conversation with God. You may relate to my whining pleas–”I know you are in charge and you have your reasons for this…but why God? I’m so tired. This is too much. My feet hurt. Yes, of course I’m grateful all this is happening in the US and not in Germany… I just want to get on the plane and make my connecting flight.” Interesting isn’t it, how I became quite ready to travel to Europe only after a few more stretching challenges came my way?
Ticket holders were already filing onto the flight as I returned back to Terminal B. I was the very last person leaning on my suitcase when I received my boarding pass. After I heard the words–”You will be on standby in Frankfurt,” I couldn’t hold in my tears. They poured out of my eyes without permission and I heard myself respond, “I have to be on my connecting flight in Frankfurt and no–you cannot check my bag.” Within seconds, I had another pass for boarding placed into my hands and the assurance that I would be on my connecting flight in Germany.
One of the flight attendants on the plane took one look at me though and questioned if I was OK. That did it–I couldn’t stop blubbering as I bumped and yanked my bag down the isle towards the back of the
plane. It was then that a young man of about sixteen hopped up after slowing by his seat. He hoisted my bag up to the compartment like it was a shoe box and I sunk into my chair just before a cup of cold water was placed into my quivering hand.
It only took a little while to realize that I was sitting next to an amazing kid named Antony originally from Poland and living in D.C. with his family. Even thought he was a well traveled, confident, and outgoing guy, his heart was tender over his favorite grandfather’s passing. If you know me, you are aware that I’m not unfamiliar with the pain of losing someone close. The loss of my eighteen-year old baby sister due to cancer–changed me. My heart aches and cries when I hear of someone else’s grief or illness and it hasn’t been the same since.
It was an honest exchange of caring thoughts, answers, and beliefs about life, death, and what comes next. It was like the words and the moments were reserved for us alone. My struggles melted away and his became the reason why I was on that flight. If Antony only knew that he was loved by God so much that not only did God send me to tell him but most importantly–He gave His son Jesus Christ to suffer, die, and raise to life so if he believed in Jesus he wouldn’t have death to fear anymore.
I still pray for Antony and his family. I pray one day he will read this blog and realize he was used in a big way that day. Antony, if your reading this, you showed me that while God Almighty hadn’t forgotten little ol’ me, He more importantly, hadn’t forgotten your needs or your pain–whether you believe in Him or not.
* Don’t miss next week’s three part conclusion in –”God Felt Silent III”
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