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A few weeks ago, I was in the Sacramento airport. On my way through the TSA security check, I found myself directly behind a woman who was standing frozen in front of the conveyor belt leading to the x-ray machine. A line was forming behind us so I asked her if she needed some help. She was trembling a little as she explained to me that she had never been to the airport, any airport, and had no idea what she was supposed to do. I grabbed her a bin and walked her through this familiar process to me. After helping her retrieve her items on the other side, we went our separate ways. I made my way to my gate, excited to have some time to review my notes for a message I was preparing to teach. You see, I was on my way to Washington to speak at a women’s retreat. The days leading up to this one had been hectic, and I was eager to relax and read over my lessons. But God had another idea.
When I sat down, God immediately convicted me, “Krishelle, what are you doing sitting here when that woman is so terrified? Go find her and help her.” I gave God several excuses including, “How will I ever find her in this big airport?” The argument ended with God reminding me of a commitment I had made several weeks prior. Pastor Paul had challenged us to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit without asking questions. He related a tendency in his own life to dismiss those nudges as possibly not the Holy Spirit, just his own thoughts. He went on to explain that if it was something that God had already laid out in His Word as a good thing, it didn’t really matter where this specific prompting came from, and we should err on the side of following those leadings that likely were promptings of the Spirit. This really hit me hard. I often dismiss those kinds of thoughts that pop into my mind and might very well be ignoring the Holy Spirit. I made a commitment, that day, to act on those nudges.
The discussion about whether or not I was going to try to find this woman was over. I gathered my bags and headed out with a somewhat begrudged prayer, “If YOU want me to find her, YOU are going to have to lead me to her.”
I walked from gate to gate scanning the crowd, skeptical that I would ever find her. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly, if your focus is on a great big God) I turned a corner and came face to face with this woman standing in the middle corridor between the gates.
I asked her how she was doing and if I could help her. She was terrified. She began to relate to me the story of where she was going and who she was running from. She was gripped by fear, not having ever left the state, let alone flown on an airplane. She was afraid of people. She was afraid of death. She was afraid of the unknown. She was afraid of being alone. Every aspect of her life was filled with fear.
I talked her through the Southwest Airline process, assuring her that it would be easy and she didn’t need to fear. I promised her I would stay with her until she got on her plane, which seemed to relieve a little of her anxiety. While we waited, I asked her about her belief in God and tried my best to point her to a God who would stick close to her every step of this journey and throughout her life - a God who was bigger than her fear. I prayed for her.
Her “C” group was called, and she turned to hug me, holding on for a long time before she went to stand in line. She promised me she would talk to God the moment she found a seat, knowing the fear would likely grip her again as the unfamiliar journey continued. She waited in line, constantly checking over her shoulder to see if I was still there. Somehow she felt some comfort in a complete stranger waiting with her. Just before she walked out of sight, she yelled a big thank you and blew me a kiss. I smiled and waved and thanked God for the nudge and for not letting up until I acted on His prompting.
I hurried back to my gate, arriving just in time to board.
My flight took off and I opened my notes to start to review my lesson. My eyes went immediately to this statement, “One of the greatest ways God shows His love to us is by giving us more of Himself - to know Him, to worship Him, and to have a relationship with Him.” I was so overwhelmed with God’s great love for me. My eyes filled with tears as I realized it was out of His great love that he sent this needy woman to me. Hearing her story made me realize that because of my relationship with God, although I can have tendencies towards fear, being fearful of this trip had never even entered my mind. Why would God reach down and call me to be a child of His? Why would He walk with me everyday? Why would He surround me with the comfort of His presence? Why does He offer me peace? He loves me. Christ loved me enough to die for me so that I can be with Him forever. Wow!
I didn’t study my notes. I just sat in the presence of an almighty, loving God while the tears dripped down my cheeks.
I am thankful the Holy Spirit gave me an opportunity to be a part of this woman’s story. I will likely never know on this side of heaven if God had a bigger plan for this terrified woman in sending me to her, but I do know that God had something special in mind for me that day in sending her to me.
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