Trains and Planes

Recently I was on a flight from NYC to Raleigh, rescheduled because of a snow storm that hit Raleigh. I had on my favorite, newly purchased fleece pull-over with a big orange tiger paw on the left shoulder. I knew it would be freezing when we arrived plus I love representing my school so I had to wear it!

As the stewardess was serving beverages after take off, she commented, “Oh I love your pullover, especially the paw.” It wasn’t but seconds later that I felt God telling me to give the fleece to her. I consider myself generous but for some reason I tried to justify in my mind NOT DOING IT. My combative thoughts were:

“It will be too small;”
“I will be cold;”
“She will think I am crazy;”
“My shirt underneath is dirty.”

These were just a few of the push back thoughts I had. I closed my eyes and said, “Ok, Lord, I will do it!”

I then proceeded to pull the fleece off and fold it to hand to her when she came back up the aisle. I didn’t really have any peace or joy about it until she came by and I just handed it to her and said, “I want you to have it!’

She smiled and said, “Are you sure?”

And I said, “Yes!”

At that moment a wonderful peace and joy that only Jesus can give washed over me! I was reminded of a story I had read about years ago about Billy Sunday. Billy was a great evangelist. Before he became a believer he was a professional baseball player. He heard the gospel one night and upon hearing the message he not only invited Jesus into his heart, but he felt the call the same night to become an evangelist.

Hold that thought…there was a pastor who lived in Chicago where Billy was actually from. He woke up one night and felt God telling him to go down to the train station and preach the gospel. He rolled over thinking it was ridiculous because it was the middle of the night. It wasn’t until the third dose-off and wake up that he reluctantly got up, put on his clothes and went to the Chicago train station to obey God and preach the gospel. He ended up one level below where the train runs. No one was around. He didn’t see a single soul, but he loudly preached a gospel message.

Hold that thought…fast forward years later. The pastor who reluctantly obeyed God’s command that seemed ridiculous was at a Billy Sunday Crusade where Billy shared how he came to know Jesus. He said, “It was so weird, but I was at a Chicago train station in the middle of the night waiting on my train and I heard a gospel message. I could not tell where it was coming from but I listened and gave my life to Christ and that was the night God called me to do what I am doing tonight!”

I hope you are connecting the AWESOME DOTS!

I have not thought about that story in years but God brought it to my mind only after I gave the fleece to the stewardess. I have no idea really why or if anything will ever come from the gift, but what I do know is that I felt His voice. I obeyed…reluctantly…but then I got this PEACE and JOY that passes all understanding and a very satisfying sense of obeying even if it didn’t make sense to me.

When I was leaving the plane, the stewardess slipped a folded napkin in my hand. As I walked down the terminal, I opened it. It contained a scribbled note expressing her long day of delays and how seeing the “Paw” put a smile on her face.

This is not quite the Billy Sunday story but the point of my post is about obeying God no matter if it make human sense or not and even if it seems silly!  We can only control knowing Jesus and recognizing His voice and obeying. We don’t have to see results. It is more about taking steps of faith and steps of obedience and trusting Him with outcomes.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, LEAN NOT on your OWN understanding and in all your ways acknowledge him and HE will make your paths straight” [emphasis mine].

Also, Proverbs 11:25, “A generous soul will prosper, and he who refreshes others, he himself will be refreshed.”

The immediate outcome appears that it refreshed and encouraged the tired stewardess (according to her note) and for me…the great refreshment of peace, joy and a growing faith of recognizing God’s voice and the inexpressible satisfaction of obeying God.

What seemingly ridiculous or silly thing might God be asking of you today? Pray about it. Only God knows where it may take you.

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  • I had a similar experience at Costco just yesterday! The lady in front of me wasn’t able to use her husbands card and began to cry telling the checker he was home sick. I felt the Lord say pay for her groceries- I hesitated because it was a lot of groceries… but then I very clearly heard His voice saying I chose you to bless her today… so, as she walked away empty handed I hollered, mam, mam, come back. Thinking she’s forgotten something she came over, still crying, and the checker handed her the grocery cart – I paid for my groceries and because we were in one receipt we both walked out teary eyed. I simply said Merry Christmas as I was turning to leave – as she walked away she slipped a $20 in my pocket and said that’s all the cash she had- I didn’t want it but she needed to put it in my pocket… it didn’t nearly cover the cost but it left her smiling and me grateful that God chose to bless me so greatly by using me to bless this lady! Obedience can be overwhelming! More happy tears as I got in the car!