A Sweet Second Chance
Another flight, but this one became a classroom for my heart.
I had just walked away from the check-in kiosk when I heard, “Hey Rick!”
I turned to see a couple who own a small business here in Los Angeles. I have been in their store many times and struck up a friendship with them that has moved a step beyond acquaintance.
“Where are you headed?” I asked.
“To Minneapolis to see the doctors at the Mayo Clinic,” the husband answered.
That was when I noticed their daughter in a wheel chair. They explained that there has been a problem that has disabled her from walking. Apparently, her condition is related to a virus, but her doctors have not come up with a diagnosis and sent her on this medical trip for further examination.
I smiled and told them I was glad to see them and went on through security. As I was putting my belongings onto the x-ray belt, a sick feeling ripped through my midsection. I realized that I had just missed an unmistakable opportunity to minister to these friends. By this time there was no easy way to get back through the security line. I was left with an embarrassment and shame that I had not represented Jesus well nor extended His grace in any way.
I went to check the monitor to confirm my gate and there it was- their Minneapolis flight. Their flight was actually leaving from the gate adjacent to mine. And the flight was scheduled for the same time as mine. I prayed for a second chance to see my friends.
Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later I saw them wheeling their daughter toward their gate. I met them as they came into the seating area and asked them more about the daughter’s condition. Then I asked them if it would be ok if I prayed for them. The Mom said yes and we prayed right there in the Delta seating area.
My friends are not church-goers and have never expressed any faith in Christ to me. But they instinctively grabbed and held my hand as I prayed for their daughter. It was a sweet moment.
The point of relaying the encounter is not to highlight my praying for them. It is to shine a spotlight on God’s kind providence. He put our flights on the same day. He located our gates next to each other. He synchronized our flight times. He gave them receptive hearts to receive prayer. He answered my prayer to see them again. He gave me a second chance to do what was right.
After praying I told them I would follow up with them in a few weeks to check on their daughter. I also asked them if I could take them to lunch sometime soon. They said yes. All this points to God’s kind providence. My friends now have an appointment to hear the gospel. And I have more reasons to be amazed by His grace.