I being in the way, the Lord led me… Genesis 24:27 (KJV)
Being in a traveling frame of mind, I am thinking about the various folks I’ve shared planes with in the recent past and wondering who I will meet on these flights to Spain. In our “business” we always pray for divine appointments. While it’s obvious that some passengers are heaven-sent, and others are, well, opportunities, I’ve had some memorable encounters.
Like the man who disrupted the whole section of seats near us when the passenger ahead of his wife abruptly lowered the seat, spilling wine all over his wife. Attendants raced to the scene to calm the husband who temper was quickly escalating. The two combatants were safely and literally separated.
And then there was the extended family that sat on either side of the jumbo jet and proceeded to discuss family events over the heads of the whole middle section at about 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. That was a long flight.
One darling little girl heading to Africa from Europe had obviously just seen the movie “Frozen.” We were all serenaded with ditties for a while. You can guess her favorite: when she got to “To Let It Go,” she did. One could accurately describe her enthusiasm as voce alta, singing with a LOUD voice.
Of course, we’ve experienced hours of crying babies whose little ears were suffering from the altitude, and there was the little girl who sat behind me sobbed silently. I began making little playful gestures with my fingers over the back of the seat. And then I drew cartoons on the pad I always carry just in case. The cartoons caught her interest, and she responded with her own set of drawings. I learned she was flying alone and was scared to death.
But the passenger I won’t forget was Aisha. I had missed my flight from Frankfort to Moscow because of a glitch with my visa and so didn’t make a most important meeting with Dr. Maria Tschernoskaya. God intervened, and I was able to get a new visa and make the evening flight. I prayed that no one would sit near me so I could catch up on the work that had been neglected due to my delay. That prayer was not to be answered.
I tried to appear busy and unapproachable as the plane filled, and an attractive young lady sat one seat over. We exchanged polite greetings, and then I turned back to my papers. But Aisha was not to be daunted. “What takes you to Moscow? What will you be doing?” Just what I wanted to avoid. I curtly answered her questions, adding that I was to have met with one of the foremost experts in care for orphans and vulnerable children.
Aisha listed quietly and then said, “I work with someone who is an expert in care for orphans and vulnerable children.”
Somewhat interested, I added, “This woman has a model project, and we were to meet to collaborate on a program for all of Eastern Europe.”
“The woman I work with also consults with many people who come to see her work in Moscow,” Aisha remarked.
Finally, I described our vision, and Aisha revealed that she was an Oxford professor who had come to work with—yes, Dr. Maria Tschernoskaya. Together they were developing methods that could be replicated in many of the former Soviet Union facilities.
Eating humble pie, I began to question Aisha, and for the remainder of the flight we exchanged notes, and I wrote as fast as my hand would allow. Aisha with her command of the English language was much more proficient in describing the program than Dr. Tschernoskaya ever could have been. Everything I’d planned to discuss with the noted expert was addressed in my evening with Aisha.
As the plane was preparing for landing, Aisha turned to me and said, “I wasn’t supposed to be on this plane.”
“Nor was I.” I added.
What divine appointments will there be en route to Spain?
Father, why am I often surprised at your loving ways? Thank you for always going before us, and thank you that you’re way ahead of us on this flight to Spain. AMEN.