Two people on a packed flight, mid-air, have been engaged in talking for some time and realizing that they have drastically different opinions about God, the Universe and from whence it came, the atmosphere has turned a bit turbulent between them. And although the plane itself glides along effortlessly in the air, the two patrons very different from each other in character, spirit and now confessed opinion seem engaged in a silent standoff waiting for the other to speak.
The first is a middle-aged white woman, usually happy and smiling, now looks like she would rather have taken a later flight and has an obvious debate going on in her mind if it would be miraculously possible to spend the remaining couple of hours in the restroom away from her neighbor.
The second traveler is an older man, slim and trim, with a salt and pepper crew-cut and mostly trimmed beard and mustache. He appears to be full of anger and now with a lady next to him that proclaims the existence of God, he too, wonders if there is a way to escape this suddenly unfortunate arrangement. He would never admit it, but he briefly considers the emergency exit and a parachute, or not. But he is seasoned in his arguments against God and with a burning rage inside his chest, his hateful spirit dares her to argue for God.
“Well…” she says, “seems like we have come to an impasse doesn’t it.”
“God isn’t real.” He says again after having said the same thing three times since they had started talking about Jesus, God whatever you want to call him.
“Why do you think that?” She asks, gently but with a tinge of tiredness.
“Because he isn’t!”
“Well that hardly counts as an argument, yes?”
“There is no proof that God exists” he persists.
“What about gravity?” she asks.
“What about it?”
“Well, I heard a story one time about this man, who absolutely hated gravity. He didn’t believe in it, and he thought the world was so very stupid for believing in something that nobody could see or prove existed, so this man decided to show everyone he knew, just how very stupid and ridiculous they were about their belief in gravity.”
“Yes! I know people like that! I have friends who believe the world is flat! How ridiculous!”
“Yes, well…” she continued “This particular man came up with a plan to prove everyone wrong and himself right. He found the tallest building he could, not very tall though, as he was from a smaller town that was not quite a city and he climbed to the very top of the building to the roof. I think it was ten or twelve stories, something like that. Anyways, he went out on the roof and screamed at the sky “You aren’t real!!! I’m so tired of everyone telling me that I have to worry about gravity and what it’ll do to me, and how REEEEEAAAAAALLLLL it is! It isn’t real! It isn’t real! IT ISN’T REAL!!! Watch what I’m gonna do!”
“He didn’t…” the old man said sarcastically, suspecting what the man in the story was going to do next.
“He did” she continued “He went to the edge of the building and screamed ‘I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU!!! SO THERE!!!’ And he jumped.”
She paused while the old man next to her rolled his eyes and said “Pfffft.” Oh well. She knew in her heart she had a planted a seed for Christ.
“Yeah” she said “His wife had to come clean him up and everything, it was awful. And not only was he not proven right; he didn’t get to stick around to even say ‘Sorry, I was wrong.’”
“Hmmmmm.” The old man said and crossed his arms.
“Of course, I could be wrong” she said, “Maybe your friends that believe the earth is flat are smarter than everybody else and they can actually prove it, who knows?”
The older man was fuming now and dismissed himself to go to the restroom.
Score! She thought. Even if her flight was not as pleasant as she expected, she knew she was arguing for Jesus and that made it all ok, after all, He had fought hard to show her the Truth of His existence and it hadn’t come in an instant of understanding, it had taken many years and to this day she was still unraveling the mystery that God really is.
Returning to his seat the elderly gentlemen asked her “What logical proof do you have that there is a God?”
“Well,” she said “There is history and archeological proof, there are intelligent design and truth arguments, there are of course your bumbling ‘because I said so’ arguments right? But I would implore you to look at morality. You seem like a nice guy” (she had been listening to his dictating the texts to his employees and could sense that he had a real heart of concern, even if it appeared that he may be being misused or bullied in some cases).
After a couple minutes passed, the man seemed to relax a bit, and let her compliment sink in and decide that it was ok to engage in a further conversation about a subject he obviously did not regularly discuss.
“Morality huh?... I always try to do the right thing” he said with a bit of melancholy in his voice.
“I believe you do” she replied.
“That’s what I was taught as a kid” he said. And like big, bright, blazing flares, she could see that that was where his separation with God had begun.
“Yeah?” She implored “What did you learn as a kid?”
Leaving God out of the argument for a moment while she truly listened and was receptive to what it was that this hurting and angry man had to say about his childhood, his morality, and his non-relationship with God.
“Well,” he started “My mother was quite mean, always a disciplinarian but my Dad would always tell me that he loved me and that I was ok. I remember when my Mother would be screaming at him to discipline me for something small or insignificant, he would take me in the bedroom, shut the door and pretend to spank me.”
“Oh” the woman said feeling his hurt from a childhood long ago “I’m sorry you had to experience that” and she meant it. And she could also understand why his phone that had been so incessant before their flight took off had been so capable of bending his will it seemed. At first she had wanted to comment that he seemed weak and probably needed to stand up for himself, but no, he was trying to pay forward what his father had done for him and keep the peace. But was it right?
“Ok” she said. “God is like that you know, helping his kids when the enemy comes to hurt them, not that your Mother was your enemy, but to a young kid… yes?”
He nodded, looking as though he were remembering times he’d rather not.
“And so now, I always try to help people” he said.
“Does it work?” she asked.
“Sometimes. It’s really just about everybody doing what they want to and being happy right?”
“No!” she said. “Not at all!”
The old man flinched a bit, as he thought she was going to pity him and agree with his point of view, but she saw an opportunity that others might’ve missed at one point and she wasn’t going to repeat their mistake. Why? Because this was a lesson she had been on the receiving end of many times, and here was her opportunity to teach it.
A bit giddy, she said “No, no that’s not right at all! In fact, that may be why you are struggling with God so much right now. It’s not about doing what everybody wants, that leads to anarchy Haha! No sir, let me advise you properly about Jesus, He does what’s really right, not what everybody thinks is right! There has to be a standard to uphold and compare against or otherwise anybody can say what they think is right but that always ends up very badly right? You should know this! How old are you?’
“Ok then, come on! Hitler!?! Do I need to indulge?”
“Hitler was evil though!”
“Well, if there is evil doesn’t there have to be good?”
“Just because there is good doesn’t mean it’s God.”
“Ok” she said, this time it being her turn to roll her eyes and say “Pfffft!”
“Just because there is evil doesn’t mean that there is a God. Evil comes from man!”
“Yes!!!” she said. “Now we are getting somewhere! Evil comes from man BECAUSE of the fall of mankind in the Bible.”
“The Bible isn’t real!!!” he almost screeched.
“Ok, ok, ok” she said taking a deep breath and reevaluating her opponent. Man, what a plane ride. What would Jesus do? Hmmmm… Help me God? She thought. (Give freely what was so freely given to you) She heard in her heart. Ok, she thought. This man must be in her path for a reason, no such thing as coincidence right?
“Ok” she said a bit more gentle now. “When you were that small child and your Mother was so mean, was that right? Why was she so angry with you and why didn’t your Dad confront her? Was she evil?” She ventured far on that one, praying, Oh Lord that better be You.
“She was mean.” He said with just a chunk of venom in his voice, and she could tell that he was still reeling from his hurt and inherited that same rage, even if he didn’t know it or was incapable of acknowledging it.
“Ok, well that would lead me to believe that even if your mother wasn’t evil and she was just mean, it wasn’t right to treat you like that and she probably could’ve and should’ve done a lot better to make sure you felt loved and protected.”
“Yeah, but that was a long time ago” he said, “She been dead a long time.”
“So has Hitler” she said, “And the world is still feeling the effects of improper beliefs and someone’s cruelty to others because of what they thought was right.”
The man seemed to deflate a little. He seemed tired, like he would really, truly, just like to have the world lifted off of his shoulders and rest.
“God” she said tenderly “God loves us, and He sets standards of morality so that mean things don’t happen to His kids.”
“Yeah! Where was he when I was a kid? Huh? Where is he nowadays when kids get raped, beat, sold, and mistreated? Huh? You tell me that lady!!!” He did scream this time and looked on the verge of tears.
But she held her ground and sat there quietly, letting the waves of buried pain wash over this old man, so angry and so broken and quickly headed to an eternal hell if no one challenged the fact that God loved him.
The flight attendant came by to check that they were ok as she had heard his outburst, and although the woman was now grateful to be seated next to this man who needed God so desperately, the gentleman asked the flight attendant “if she possibly had another seat he could change to.” But there were none.
Oh, my goodness, thought the woman, this man runs every time doesn’t he? And disappointed that the flight was booked full and feeling that the woman next to him wasn’t really a threat, and the fact that she had stayed quiet since his insides seemed to rip open and expose the trauma inside him, he decided to save himself the embarrassment of forcing an escape this time and rested his head on the headrest, closed his eyes and tried to pretend like he was asleep.
And it was good for both of them.
“Excuse me” the woman said standing up to stretch her legs, seek the Lord’s counsel, and dispel the three sodas she had had in flight.
The bathroom was a tight space but at least there weren’t any bad smells, and it gave her a minute to sit in solitude and seek the Lord with all her heart and attention.
What is it You want me to do Jesus? I can argue morality, truth, history, or any number of arguments, but I think this man is heartbroken and logic can’t mend a broken heart. I may fail in the world of academics for this, but I want what You want… what is it Lord? Tell me.
And she sat there for maybe five minutes or more praying for guidance asking God if there was a way to convince this man of His Supreme existence logically.
No, her heart said. There’s not. He’s probably been searching his whole life for a logical way to explain God, to explain why he feels so let down and abandoned by his Creator, why all the horrible things in the world happen and children are left for dead, but he looks smart, and if he could’ve found a logical reason to explain these things and the existence of God, he would’ve already found them. 86 years is a long time to be hurt and looking for a logical reason.
The woman went back to her seat, ready to do what God had instructed her to, despite the consequences, the judgement from another and possibly a bad grade.
“Excuse me” she said again. Kindly and without malice or resentment. The last thing she wanted to exhibit to this man was contention, conflict, or supremacy.
“God loves you” she said.
“Pfffft” he said.
“No, really… He does.”
“Yeah well, you can keep your Jesus” he said, “I don’t believe in religion.”
“Ha!” she said. “There it is!” Laughingly, “Neither do I.”
A look of sarcasm washed across his face, a smirk, and a roll of the eyes even under his closed lids.
She’d gotten his attention.
“Just hear me out” she ventured “All you have to do is listen. You don’t have to believe, you don’t have to argue, you don’t have to agree with me and when I’m done, I’ll shut up for the rest of the flight ok?”
Now this was exactly what he wanted this lady to do, shut up!
“Ok, here goes… God? He IS goodness. He IS the solution to evil. He IS the way to heal the world, NOT destroy it. Evil? That is God’s nemesis, otherwise known as satan and his cronies, and the forces of darkness work non-stop like Darth Vader trying to stop the light in God’s children from growing and making the world a better place for all of us.”
“How do I know this to be true? What is my logic? I have none. In my experience and my belief, there is no logic to God. Just like there is no religion. If you want to know that He is real, that He is good and that He is not the things you think He is, you have to look for Him. There is no other way.”
“If you want to know that the Bible is true, the only way the veil can fall from your eyes so that you understand it, comes from the gift of heavenly wisdom from the Holy Spirit. And in order to seek that, you have to believe that Christ died for your sins.”
“If you don’t believe that He did, there is no argument in the whole Universe that I can employ to change your mind.”
The man seemed to be absorbing what she said, and she wanted to say it slowly and kindly and with compassion, because it is the Truth and she wasn’t going to be bullied into an argument about the “facts” about God, when even the “facts” about God throughout the whole of Biblical history and mankind were beyond ANY human logic, the illogical truths, that is where faith and belief in God come from. How could she refute faith? That was the only way she knew how to get to God, and it wasn’t worth trying to argue any other way. It was His rules, not hers.
The man seemed to be mulling over the fact that maybe he had gotten a free pass and since he didn’t really desire to know God anyways, he could let this lady finish her spiel and they could amicably part ways once they landed in L.A.
“We all know that if a tree falls in the woods, it makes a sound. We all know that that tree will start to disintegrate and return to the dust from whence it came. We are like that tree Sir, but we? Have the breath of God in our lungs, the desire for goodness written on our hearts and the mind of God Himself when we seek and find Him. There is NO logical explanation for it, but I can tell you this from personal experience. That deep, dark, bottomless pit that I believe exists in your heart” the man shifted at the mention of this, not expecting it, “that Sir? Jesus heals that. And that alone should be motivation enough to at least try and find Him in all the things that are NOT logical.”
“Rainbows, explainable, but not logical. Love, mysterious and ABSOLUTELY not logical. Pain that never seems to go away, not logical, not fair, and not of God. I have a wild and crazy suggestion Sir that you will probably not agree with, and neither one of us will ever fully understand… but I suggest that God put me next to you, in order to prove His existence.”
She paused waiting for him to ask her if she thought she was God, but he sat there quiet, listening, eyes closed, breathing regularly and hopefully, she prayed, contemplating the existence of the Awesome God who had created him.
“God works through His children, to help others and to reflect the light inside of them when they are so very lost.”
“It’s like someone glancing down a well and seeing that there is a shiny penny down at the very bottom, and that someone being someone who knows that there may be very much more than just that one coin of value, they repel to the very bottom of the well and are met by thousands of lost coins. Forgotten, and buried beneath the mud and silt and decades of darkness. Some are rusty, some well-preserved but they all share one thing in common, they were all tossed into the darkness of the well. Some in the hopes of wishes coming true, others on accident, and still others washed downstream from currents unseen, but they have all been inadvertently stranded in their aloneness. Alone together. But you see, the coins are still so very valuable, maybe even more so because now they are rare and hard to find. They have been there a long time, just waiting for someone brave enough to risk the fall down a dark shaft, to remember them and put them to use and truly have dreams realized.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” the old man asked.
“I was one of those pennies!” the woman said. “My Mom and Dad did their best, but I fell down that dark shaft when I was quite young, and I waited and waited and waited for someone to come and remember my value too…”
“That’s silly!” the man said, “How could a penny have feelings or search for a way out?”
“Well,” the lady said, taking a deep breath, praying in her heart to use the right words and the right amount of compassion for this man who may never encounter another believer of Christ for the rest of his limited time on this earth “Well, who knows?” she said “That’s why God is God. But in a world where evil doesn’t make any sense, why would goodness?”
“So, Jesus is the original repelling act. When He came to earth to die for our sins, he knew that not all of those pennies chose to be at the bottom of that well, so He was brave and courageous, and He came after us to restore our value and change what we think of who, what and why we are what we are. And when He sends a penny back up to the top of the well to be restored and used to make good in the world, to right the wrongs of yesteryear, we pennies that shouldn’t think or feel or know our worth, well, we volunteer to go back down those same dark and scary wells that we once got lost in in order to save other lost coins.”
“Sir… you are a lost coin that I get to help discover if you let me. I represent God and that is enough evidence that He exists. The fact that He would set us next to each other and let me see the love and pain inside of your heart, is evidence that not only does He exist? But that He is here trying to restore you from the darkness that you have been living in.”
“God loves you and I’m proof of that.”
The man sat there quietly. She started to wonder if her story had put him to sleep and started to think to herself ‘Really Jesus? All that revelation for him to fall asleep? Come on!’
“It kind of makes sense” he almost whispered.
“Oh! Hallelujah!” She screamed this time and the man’s eyes shot open.
“Not the God part!” he made sure to defiantly announce “but the darkness and the illogical approach to good and evil.”
“Yeeeeesssss!” she said. With a gigantic smile on her face and in her heart, she knew this was a win. She had planted a seed and it had taken root. She could see the wheels turning in his elderly mind and wanted to make sure that his unexpected shoot of revelation didn’t just wither and die.
“Excuse me” she said and scrambled past him quickly as their flight would be landing soon and she was NOT going to miss this opportunity!
Opening her carry-on, she selected the book the Holy Spirit said to choose and a Bible with both the Old and New Testaments as well, zipped her bag back up and scooted past him again without an excuse me this time, as they had seemed to bond in that moment of light together.
“Here…” she said handing him the book and the Bible God had guided her to give to him. She always had her Jesus gear with her, and she ALWAYS trusted that the good Lord knew best and would put whatever His people needed from Him, through her, into their hands.
“That’s from God” she said. “I DARE you to read them” she giggled inside, knowing that men like this couldn’t stand to be dared and it was usually an efficient motivator to get them to do something they didn’t want to.
Tee-hee she thought, oh Jesus, I love You and I hope we just won one for the Kingdom today.
“Thank you, but I won’t read them” he said trying to hand them back, but it was too late and the seed of curiosity and the deep desire to think that GOD, the Creator of the whole wide Universe, would send someone his way to tell him that He loved him, that he wasn’t forgotten and that he could heal that bottomless pit he’d always felt in his heart, especially when he had been at such a low point right before this flight and their conversation, was enough to make him slide the books into his bag and buckle his seat for their landing.
Hi. My name is Teresa Nash. And I am a middle-aged white woman. With a wild and crazy story about how Jesus Christ intervened in my life, save me from hell, and changed me into a better person. I have lived through a lot of pain. I have overcome many things. But not because of anything that I did. Only because Jesus Christ did it for me.