What do you do when you have to fly somewhere? Do you take your seat and get lost in a book, do some work, or are you the person who strikes up a conversation with the individual sitting next to you? Normally, I would strike up a conversation with my neighbor.
This past Monday, on the last leg of a twenty-four plus hour trip home from India, I wanted to read my book or sleep; however, God had different plans.
The gentleman who sat down beside me was obviously Indian and based on the appearance of his beard, I thought there was a strong probability he was Muslim. I pulled my book out and started to read as he pulled his iPad out and began working away. When the flight crew announced all electronics had to be stowed away, he turned to me and said, “I guess you don’t have to put your book away, do you?” And that began our two hour conversation about everything from travel, to marriage, to family, to parenting and ultimately to religion.
He told me he was Muslim and proceeded to share with me some wisdom his sister gave him when he entered into an arranged marriage at eighteen. I was excited I agreed with her wisdom. “Give one hundred fifty percent to your wife only expecting fifty percent in return and you will be blessed.” Since he had declared his faith and shared some wisdom from it, I felt the Lord nudging me, telling me I had a green light [1 Peter 3:15]. I said a quick prayer for guidance and found the Lord guiding me every step of the way.
Never did I mention how our faiths were different nor did I try and point out where his beliefs were wrong. Jesus clearly directed me to share how He is love and how He guides and blesses my life. I found myself saying, “I’m a Christian, and Jesus teaches…..” I talked with him about the Bible being absolute truth to me and my standard and basis of all of my decisions. I used my hands as a visual to teach Ephesians 5:22-30 and a straw from my beverage to demonstrate Titus 2:1-6. My friend listened intently and asked many questions. I never wanted to push Jesus on him, so I kept praying silently for direction and felt Jesus showing me when to press on and when to pull back. I’d share something about my faith and then change subjects to travel or children. He was the one who always brought us back around to faith.
I had just finished sharing a story with him about a young man named Muhammad I met in Ghana years ago who openly discussed faith with me and Muhammad shared I was the first Christian to ever make him really think about his faith. As the wheels to the plane touched the runway in Atlanta, I stuck my hand out and said, “By the way, I’m Susan.” He gently took my hand and laughed a little before replying, “My name is Muhammad.” After we both laughed, I couldn’t help but say, “Of course it is.”
We gathered our belongings and started on our way off the plane, him stepping back to allow me to get out in front of him. I wished him the best of luck at his medical convention in Atlanta and told him I’d be praying for him. He smiled and thanked me. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again, but I’m praying I will see his face in heaven one day.
What do you do when God thrusts you into a situation you weren’t counting on? Do you shy away from it or do you press in? He promises us He will never leave us nor forsake us [Deuteronomy 31:8]. He also calls us to be His witnesses [Acts 1:8]? We don’t always get to pick the time or the place we get to minister. We are simply presented with opportunities to jump in when He says go. Will you?
Praise God! We need to take each opportunity as the Lord leads. This is a true testimony to Prov 3:5-6. thank you so much for sharing.