It was Sunday, and I was absolutely exhausted from serving sixteen hours on October 20, the day before. I had enjoyed the absolute privilege of hopping a plane to serve on the prayer team at the Together Generation gathering in Fort Worth, Texas. Nearly 40,000 people gathered at the Texas Motor Speedway, and I think the average age was 19. Seeing this younger generation praising God, worshiping Him, and many accepting Him for the first time was exhilarating, to say the least!
Back to Sunday… Coming down from my emotional high and waking up from my Jesus-filled Saturday, I arrived a little early at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with some time to spare. After I was done exploring, I plopped in a seat near my gate. Then I heard an announcement about a Christian church service taking place in terminal D-21 at noon. I was in terminal E, so I dismissed the thought of attending.
Five minutes later, I heard the same message over the loudspeaker. I glanced at my phone and knew I had time to spare, so I thought, I’ll check out this “airport” church. I got there a little before noon, and I saw a guy, who I will call Tom, already sitting in the back corner of the makeshift church. I sat down a few seats from Tom and started chatting with him.
He had also heard the same message and was likewise curious about the “airport” church. We laughed together about the unlikelihood of “airport” and “church” being used together. I learned he traveled frequently for his job and couldn’t wait to get home to Boise, Idaho. My only reference to Idaho was driving there to get potatoes when I lived in northern Utah, so I used that experience as a bridge. Then, I mentioned I was a Christian writer. Tom shared that one of his favorite Christian books, The Bait of Satan by John Bevere, had both wrecked and rebuilt him.
Trust me, with those words, he had my undivided attention. He explained that he didn’t realize how offended he had become by certain matters, and how being offended was actually “the bait of Satan.” He described how he was now living in freedom, since he is no longer offended by everything. I thought, how interesting, and as we were about to delve deeper into his life lessons, the pastor entered and greeted us. So, the three of us had “airport church.” We started by singing “Amazing Grace.” I figured that was a safe one to choose since nearly everyone would know the hymn, and the words would speak to everyone’s heart.
After she led us in prayer, she stepped behind the podium and pulled out a book that was the basis for her sermon. As she lifted the book high for us to see, I gasped as I saw the title: The Bait of Satan!
Then I started weeping. I glanced toward my newfound friend, and he looked back at me with a blank stare of unbelief! The pastor didn’t miss a beat when she saw my reaction and simply said, “it’s okay” and kept on talking unphased by me. God had work to do, and she was way up to the challenge!
I don’t remember much of her sermon, but I did learn exactly what God wanted me to know. I had work to do! After she had finished preaching, Tom and I were able to tell her that we two complete strangers had just been talking about this book as we had waited for church to begin. “To be honest,” she said, “Something made me go back into my house to get that book for today!” She smiled in her obedience, blessed us, and was on her way.
The doubting Thomas in me had to ask Tom if he knew her? Of course, he laughed and said no. I told him, “I don’t have any offenses or hold any grudges. I’ve put in the hard work and have God’s forgiveness. I live life differently now.”
Tom smiled and said, “Read the book with an open mind,” knowing what was in store for me. “I thought that too,” he said as he turned to walk away.
I handed him a copy of my first book, Jesus Freak: Becoming One in the Utah Desert, which is my testimony. I knew he would have a good laugh about me driving into Idaho for a little normalcy from my Utah surrounds. Wondering about his cryptic remark as we parted company, I immediately put the book in my Amazon cart before I walked away.
I arrived home before my book, and I watched the mailbox like a hawk about to devour its prey. After my book arrived, I just looked at it. I know books are for reading, but I was dumbfounded! What is it that God wants me to know so badly He captured my attention in such an abrupt way? Finally, I nervously sat down to read it, and before long, God began to give me some hard life lessons.
Since this is a blog, I’ll finish the story next week. Stay tuned and sign up for the LoveBlog updates and be the first to read new stuff.