Faith

25 01 2014

I was flying from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Atlanta recently. It looked like I was going to be fortunate enough to have an empty seat beside me which suited me just fine because I was sick, didn’t feel good and had laryngitis. I was looking forward to just sitting in my private world listening to my music while reading O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus-a recent Christmas present. As soon as they closed the door, a young, forty-something, blonde moved from her seat across the aisle into the empty seat to my right.

It didn’t take her long. She saw what I was reading and said, “Let me know if you run across any evidence that he existed.”

Did She Really Say That? I couldn’t believe she was asking me to do that, so to confirm my understanding, I squeaked out, “Evidence that who existed?”

“Jesus,” she replied.

Again, with great effort to be heard above the din of the engines, I spoke, “I don’t need evidence because I know He exists.”

She made some sound that seemed to quietly acknowledge-Oh, so you’re one of those, huh?

She said something about not ever believing what she hears people tell her but, instead, has to see for herself in order to believe. I could have said something clever like asking if she believes there is a planet Pluto but it didn’t occur to me at the time because I was trying to think of a way to get out of the conversation. Instead, I told her you have to have faith. I then put my headphones on.

I think she was mildly…okay, somewhat insulted, but she got the message. Trouble is, it was not the message I should be sending and I knew it.

Okay, let’s get it out on the table. God had just opened a door big enough to drive a church activity bus through. He couldn’t have made it any clearer if He had put the message, BILL, WITNESS TO HER! on the television screen in the back of the seat in front of me. Here was as clear an opportunity to witness as I had ever faced and it shames me to say, I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to be left alone.

As we flew along, I tried to sleep but all I could think about was blowing this opportunity.

When the pilot announced we were about twenty minutes out of Atlanta, I pulled off my headphones to rekindle the conversation. I asked her what was taking her out of town and she said she was on her way to work. She told me she was an airline pilot. Turns out she flies Boeing 777s for one of the freight carriers. Impressive. She spent the next twenty minutes talking about flying and all the places she has been and the sights she’s seen.

We landed in Atlanta and I was thinking I had blown it. Then, just as we were about to get off the plane, she said, “Faith, huh?” as if that was a revelation which had never occurred to her.
I couldn’t read anything into the way she said that but at least that told me she was still thinking about what I had said. I was encouraged as she stood up and wished me a safe trip.

Since God didn’t divinely provide me with a voice early in our conversation, maybe that was all He expected me to do-plant a seed. He can cultivate that seed into something really great. And that’s my point. We’re not all Billy Graham, and God doesn’t expect us to be. As disciples (followers) of Christ, we have been charged with spreading the gospel and sometimes that can be accomplished in the simplest of ways. We are tools in His hands. No tool is simpler than a wood chisel-a piece of steel with a sharp edge. Yet in the hands of a master carver, a rough piece of wood can be transformed into a thing of beauty. Plant the seed and stand back and let the Master do the work.

The hands of the Master

The hands of the Master

 

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2 responses

25 01 2014
Jackie Garner

You did exactly what He wanted you to do.The fact that you were quiet was. Because you needed to rest.This also made her feel like you weren’t one of those people. this allowed her to really hear your words “. All you need is Faith”
May have given her heart a chance to really hear those words
Where if you had kept on talking she would have maybe tuned you out.

26 01 2014
Bill Taylor

ain’t He just amazing!!

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