When God Answers Prayer More Specifically Than Expected...
by Alan Henderson
Passengers in the cabin and co-workers in the galley often ask me the same question: "Why did you become a flight attendant, especially with your background?" The question usually comes while talking after we've worked together a bit or I've been doing service in the cabin and they find out I was a high school and college instructor for twenty years and have a terminal degree.
The answer I give is always the same: "Well, thirty-plus years ago after my wife and I got married, and from our experience as missionaries in the south Pacific and interest in travel, cultures and people, we said, 'Hey, maybe one day we'll work for the airlines and be flight attendants or something.' So here we are. Which just goes to show you, #1, be careful what you say; #2, sometimes it just takes things a while to come around; #3, God most definitely has a sense of humor!" That usually produces a laugh and a knowing nod in agreement.
I have worked on ExpressJet airline as your trusty flight attendant, and I just wanted to let you know about one of the many times this omnipotent sense of humor in putting me in the air also reinstated my sense of purpose.
Here is a little tidbit of airlines lingo. A "deadhead" flight is a non-working flight when I get to travel somewhere as a passenger. I don't always do this because frankly I don't want to be bothered or don't fancy investing the time it will take when I know God will answer, but one recent morning I prayed something very specific before my deadhead.
I prayed, "God, You know I haven't 'clicked' as well as usual with the crew I'm working with on this trip and it has been a little discouraging. Please bring someone into my path that I can talk with about You today."
Pretty specific, right?
Well, on that particular day after that specific prayer, so was God.
Settling into seat 6C, I had no sooner gotten situated when a young man came to sit beside me. After basic greetings, he looked at the copy of C. S. Lewis' The Joyful Christian that I had stuck in the seat back pocket and said, "Oh, I love Lewis! He's one of my favorites." That launched a wide-ranging, nonstop conversation for the next hour and a half in which we talked about faith, jobs, family, heritage, plans for the future, good books--a whole host of things.
My new friend's name is Haran. His family is from Sri Lanka, he graduated from medical school in India and had a God-given dream of becoming a medical missionary. Getting ready for my next flight, I received the following email from my Haran:
Thank you, Alan. It was truly my privilege and pleasure to sit and talk with you today. I thank God that my last minute seat assignment at the gate ended up being 6D, next to you.
Despite God's faithfulness in my life, I still find myself being very much like Gideon - looking for continual signs to see if the Lord is still with me. Meeting and talking with you was just what I needed.
Thank you for obedience to serve the Lord in every aspect of your life. It is evident and inspiring.
God bless your journeys today and always, and may He continue to use you mightily.
Indeed (and you know this as well, don't you?), our God answers prayer in amazing ways. To borrow the words of Rich Mullins' classic song: "Our God is an Awesome GOD! He reigns from heaven above, with wisdom, power and love. Our GOD is an AWESOME GOD!"
It is a real gift was reminded of this truth after one simple prayer, a brief chat, a mere request to the Almighty.
Conference with our Heavenly Father is not a frivolous matter that we mumble quickly at the dinner table or a good luck charm to be uttered before playing a rival sports team. It is a divine duty and based on the love of an unchanging God. When we receive an answer from our Father in Heaven, it is in response to faith and ... submission.
"This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!"
God wants us to pray about everything, so we will not assume the lie that "God helps those who help themselves" is truth. This thought is not even found in Scripture. The attacker wants us to "figure things out on our own." A reminder as to why this is true is located in the book of Genesis. Several times! Yes, God wants us to work for Him, but only after we have prayed.
What a blessing and a privilege that a specific request to talk to someone about Him brought a young gentleman to this ExpressJet row who reminded me that sometimes, very often, God is already there ... and closer than you think. May you never forget that sometimes you will find Him in the quiet heart of someone who just wants that 'something more' and sometimes you will see Him living in the eyes of the person in the seat right beside you ... whether it's on a plane or a taxi ... or even your dinner table.
To Him be the glory. Today and every day. In your life and mine. And in the lives of all those we meet. And as my new friend said to me, may God bless your journeys today and always, and may He continue to use YOU ... and mightily. And may you believe beyond a shadow of doubt that God may answer your prayers more specifically than you expect.
P.S. In case you still have that song in your head (I certainly do!), here's your ear bug! ;-)