Weak Faith, Powerful Answers

“God,” I whispered as I finished packing my carry-on for my trip to Florida. “It’d sure be nice if someone would just give me a wad of spending money for my time in Florida.” I chuckled to myself as I finished. Where did that come from? I wondered. I’m going to Florida to work at WA, not vacation. What do I need spending money for? I had just completed managing our month-end business, and was not surprised to come to the end of the month  with an obvious gap between expenses and income. Since Joel’s neck pain has made it impossible for him to work, this has become pretty common. I had confidence God could handle those deficits, but it seemed a bit frivolous to ask for spending money!

Boarding the plane a couple hours later, my simple prayer was, “God please let me get a good seat.” I sighed with relief as I saw an available window seat, empty middle seat and middle-aged man in the aisle seat. Stowing my luggage I settled in against the window and opened my book.

As we pulled away from the gate, the guy in the aisle seat leaned over and commented, “Looks like we’re gonna keep this empty seat.” I chucked and nodded.  It’s always nice to have a little extra room. Then he continued with another comment about travel and vacationing in Hawaii. I answered politely but didn’t really plan to get into a long conversation with a stranger I’d never see again after this flight.

But instead as we lifted off He asked me,”What do you do that you travel so much?” Here goes.  I thought.

“Well,” I answered, “It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. Actually I work with an organization that helps minority groups around the world to get Scripture translated into their heart language.”

He drew back in surprise. His eyes wide, he exclaimed, “That’s why this seat is empty! God does this too me all the time! The Holy Spirit wanted that seat empty.”  That wasn’t the response I had expected. I thought.  But I’m open. Maybe God did intend for us to sit next to each other. After all, I did ask for a good seat.

For the next two hours, this man spoke words of encouragement and challenge, sharing his story with me, and asking questions about my life and ministry.  He spoke openly of his journey through the trauma of addiction to knowing God more intimately. He asked questions about each of my boys and husband, our life, our calling, our hopes.

As we neared Orlando, he got up to go to the bathroom; when he returned he leaned over and said, “Now you can’t say ‘no’ to this, because it’s from the Lord.”

“No to what?” I wondered.

“Just the other day I got some unexpected revenue in my business, and God told me it wasn’t for me. He said he would show me who it was for. I was pretty sure it was you, but I just went away now to talk with God and makes sure I was hearing him correctly. So I want to give you this, but it’s not me. It’s really from him.” And with that he handed me  three $100 bills! “This is just spending money.” He said. “You can’t pay bills or give this away to someone else who needs it. This is for you. Spend it on you!”

Tears blurred my vision as my almost-flippant prayer form earlier in the day played in my mind.  “I hear you, and I open my hands to show you my extravagant love,” God whispered to my heart.   Indeed he answers prayers, even those offered in weak faith.

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