Everything Happens for a Reason

Everything Happens for a Reason

I started my today nervous about my first business trip ever. It was the first time I would be driving myself to the airport and flying alone. I always compensate for my anxiousness by planning ahead. Giving my world structure gives myself the illusion of being in control. So I got to the airport two hours early and was ready to go. I had even contacted the co-worker I was supposed to meet in Miami to coordinate our shared cab ride to our hotel. He said not to worry, that he would hail a cab when we got there. Perfect. One less thing to worry about. As I’m sitting at my terminal I realize my gate is not for my flight. I check the departure board and notice that not only has my gate changeQhd but my plane is at a completely different terminal! So I hop onto the sky rail and go to the opposite side of the airport. Finally. My gate. The RIGHT gate. After a while, a woman comes over the intercom explaining that there has been a slight delay. The plane I was supposed to be boarding had been struck by lightning prior to landing at DFW and needed to be checked out. They were currently searching for a replacement plane. She assured us that we would be leaving in 30 minutes…. An hour and a half later, I finally board the plane. I had to call my co-worker and tell him to go on ahead of me to the hotel. Now I would be hailing a cab by myself… something I’ve never done before. I take my seat among the other passengers. As I begin to read my book, the pilot tells us to hang tight while they check on a maintenance issue. At this point I’m just laughing. I figure everything has gone off my plan so obviously I’m here for a reason. In my uncommonly good mood for a passenger on a delayed plane, I made a witty remark that caught the ear of the guy sitting next to me. For the life of me I can’t remember what I said or how we started our conversation but we talked the entire 3 hour plane ride. He was 24 and active in the air force. He worked with private intel and couldn’t tell me much due to the secrecy of his position. However, what he did tell me was fascinating. As I began to learn more and more about this man and his life, I began to realize how caring, dutiful, and lonely he was. He wasn’t allowed to talk about his job, moved frequently, and was an introvert, causing him to have few friends. But he loved his job. He loved helping people and was thankful for his blessings. When I asked him how he got the job he has and he told me he chose his top three options and the air force and his test scores chose for him. They were the following:
#1: bomb defuser (ala Hurt Locker).
#2: fireman (equally as dangerous in combat).
#3: choose for me.
His test scores were so high the government put him in special ops/intel. He couldn’t tell me much but I do know he saves and protects the lives of soldiers everyday. The survival of wounded men rests on this young man’s shoulders. I told him that it was obvious that he was put where he was for a reason. Seeing that he was carrying a heavy burden on his shoulders, I asked if he had anyone to talk to, any friends.
“Not really…”
I then asked if he was a religious man.
“No, are you?”
I said yes and we talked a bit about religion, just surface level stuff like how he put “Jedi” on his dog tags as his religion because he didn’t have one, etc etc. As the conversation diverted, I felt convicted to keep talking about God with this young man. I went to the bathroom and said a quick prayer asking God to bring up a point in our conversation where it would be a natural transition to religion. He did. I spent 30 minutes explaining what a personal relationship with God looks like. I explained how Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, died for us, eliminated the need for rules and rituals, and provided us with the gift of eternal life. Turns out, this young man had not only never heard the gospel, he didn’t even know Jesus was a real person. He had never read the Bible. After my explanation of Jesus, I encouraged him to evaluate who he believed Jesus to be: a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. As our conversation diverted once again, I began to feel self conscious. Did my babbling explanation of the Gospel sound convincing? Did I sound silly or offensive? Did this guy understand anything I said? As all these worries swarmed through my head, I suddenly felt a sense of peace. I was reminded of a message I once heard that spoke directly to this situation. It is not our job to convert others. Eloquent speeches, scientific/analytical explanations, and fuzzy feelings don’t cause people to believe. It is between them and God. God doesn’t call us to convert people. He calls us to share the Gospel. I was obedient and that’s all that mattered. Before the plane landed, I asked his permission to pray for him. He looked skeptical but told me that prayer never hurt and that I could. As we walked off the plane, I lost him in the crowd and didn’t get the chance to say goodbye and wish him luck. I then remembered I had the daunting task of finding a cab. As I walked out of the airport, a taxi was waiting for me, having been hailed by my heavenly Father.
Everything happens for a reason. If my plane hadn’t been delayed, I never would have made a comment about it and would have simply continued reading my book, ignoring the people around me. Instead God gave me the opportunity to witness to one of His children. I’ll never complain about traveling again.
Please pray that Steven, the 24 year old man with the world on his shoulders, would see that he isn’t bearing the world alone. He is loved and appreciated by a God who is keeping him safe and has blessed him with the talent of helping others. Please pray that others would reach out to him and teach him more about Gospel and the hope we have in Christ.
Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Growing up in a Christian home, the word “grace” has always been a household word. I always knew what grace was and knew that God’s grace applied to everyone, including me. However, recently I have come to realize that knowing something is different than truly understanding something. I know that I’m forgiven and God shows me grace but its never really sunk in. The concept of grace lost its meaning and its significance as I grew up. I’ve always considered myself a “good girl” and have frequently been called a “goody two-shoes” so I always felt like my sins weren’t that big of a deal to God. My sins were easily forgiven. I really never felt truly remorseful for a majority of the mistakes I made. While reading the book Redemption by Mike Wilkerson, I discovered that my attitude toward grace and forgiveness is arrogant. He writes,

“a preoccupation with self-forgiveness is to believe that your sin is a bigger deal to you than it is to God. You think, “Of course God has forgiven me,” as if it were a small thing to Him. The fact is that God is always the most offended by your sin, even when you sin against someone else. No one knows more than God just how big a deal your sin truly is. It cost  him His perfect son”.

He goes on to say, “It is the height of self-centeredness to think your sin somehow offends you (or anyone else, even) more than it offends God”. I felt very convicted by this. I obviously considered my sin insignificant when in reality, my sins don’t differ from murder or greed. All sins are equal in the eyes of God (James 2:10).

My conviction led me to re-read the gospel so I could truly understand the price Jesus paid for my sins, no matter how small or insignificant they are in the eyes of man. Every night I read a chapter and every night I’ve notice a pattern: its all about faith. In almost every chapter someone either lacks faith and Jesus forgives them or someone has faith in Jesus Christ and is blessed because of that faith. As I’ve mentioned in blogs past, I’ve been struggling with worry and anxiousness about my future. Every night I am hit with the realization that my worrying is really a lack of faith in God, which is my constant sin struggle. Despite the fact He has always provided for me and things always work out a million times better than I could ever plan, I still worry. Yet, as I’ve been reading, I have caught myself getting frustrated with the disciples and others who lack faith. Unlike us, they actually met Jesus Christ. They watched him perform miracles, they watched fulfill prophecies, and they witnessed him rise again. They have no excuse to doubt, right? Once again I have considered my lack of faith not a big deal. But I’ve realized that I also have proof of God’s authenticity: the Bible. So I don’t have an excuse. Jesus died for me and I think its trivial that I don’t trust him? Pitiful. However, it is comforting to know the disciples and I struggle with the same thing. Doubt and worry are natural parts of being human. When the disciples became afraid of the storm Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:26). God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and EVERYWHERE. And this perfect, loving God gave His only son to die for my sins. ALL of them.

So for those of you reading this and thinking, “I thought this blog post was supposed to be about grace?”, let me explain. You cannot truly understand grace until you understand the validity of Christ and the meaning of what He did (AKA: the Gospel). Jesus died for our sins. He DIED. He didn’t just ‘die’ either. He suffered the most humiliating and painful death at that time in history and not even for just one person. He died for His friends. He died for His enemies. He died for everyone in His present, His past, and His future. He died for you before you were you were formed in your mother’s womb. He died for your lies, for your greed, for your sinful thoughts and your sinful actions. He made Himself filthy in the eyes of His father. So filthy, in fact, that God turned away from Him. He did all this so that you and I have the opportunity to spend eternity with a loving God. So he suffered for the things I am apathetic for. So no matter how small I consider it in relation to the sins of others, it still cost Him his life. And he did all of this because he LOVES us. Let that sink in.

So as you can see, I’m being convicted a lot recently. And, subsequently, I’m learning a lot too. I was shown the following video from a very dear friend of mine. I feel this video truly encompasses what I tried to convey. Enjoy!