Published on 03/01/2021 |
Six and a half years ago, Jane* was going through a crisis. Her husband of many years was unfaithful, and she was facing divorce. Her daughter had gotten married and moved out; Jane felt so alone.
In this time of confusion, Jane sought advice and direction from the pastor of the Baptist church that she had attended all her life, but her church and pastor showed no interest, and she felt abandoned.
However, she found that this hard experience was actually a blessing because she turned to God and discovered that she wasn’t alone. The Lord sustained her. She began praying and reading her Bible, but she had many questions.
Four years passed. Her daughter married and moved to Los Angeles. So, two-and-a-half years ago, Jane flew to Los Angeles to see her daughter, son-in-law, and young granddaughter. All too soon, the visit was over and she was headed home. Jane was flying on Southwest and had paid extra to sit at the front of the plane. Boarding, she chose a front seat and put her bag up in the baggage holder above her and sat down. She had listened to Doug Batchelor on television and began to pray that the Lord would send her someone that could help her understand the Bible.
After this prayer she had a strong impression: You need to move to the back of the plane. But Jane didn’t want to; she had paid extra to get this front seat, yet the impression grew stronger. Finally, not knowing why, she got up, took her bag from the baggage bay above the seat and moved back to the back of the plane, selected an aisle seat, put her bag up on the baggage bay and sat down again.
Two and a half years ago, I was at Weimar Institute for a board meeting. I was flying Southwest Airlines and was scheduled to leave Sacramento early Sunday morning.
On Southwest Airlines, if you want a good spot near the front of the plane, you check in exactly 24 hours in advance. Because I left early Sunday morning, that would mean I would be checking in on Sabbath morning, and I didn’t feel comfortable doing that. So I didn’t check-in online until an hour or two after sundown, which meant that I would be in the back of the plane.
But God had a plan. As He would have it, my ‘backseat’ was right next to – yes, Jane. After I was seated, she opened her computer and on the screen wallpaper was a beautiful baby – her granddaughter.
Of course that started a conversation, which led to the kind of world the baby would grow up in. This brought us to Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Daniel 2. For the five-hour trip we studied the Bible together, and Jane started getting her questions answered.
Because Jane loved Jesus, I talked to her about a wonderful book, The Desire of Ages. Jane told me she didn’t really like to read a lot. When I mentioned there was an audio version of the book, she got very interested. We exchanged e-mails so I could send it to her.
As we neared Atlanta, she turned to me and said, “I don’t think it was happenstance that we sat together.” I knew nothing about her impression to move to the back, but I realized then that God had selected my seat. I then told Him that I always want Him to choose everything in my life, even where I sit on a plane!
A year later she came up to spend the weekend with my wife and I. We had the opportunity to answer more Bible questions. Would you believe that Doug Batchelor’s wife happened to visit our church that week? Jane had her picture taken with Karen Batchelor. Would you believe Pastor Mark Finley was also visiting our church that Sabbath, and he agreed to teach my Sabbath School class? Jane loved it and Pastor Finley signed her up for an Internet series on Revelation that he gives. Where it will lead, I don’t know. But I wonder . . . had I not waited until after Sabbath to get my seat, would I have met Jane?
The lesson, I think, speaks for itself!
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