Recently I flew to Maryland to be with dear friends for a final fellowship gathering as they are moving overseas. Since I work remotely most of the time, I also needed to take care of a few things at the office. Despite it being last-minute, with the help of some airmiles, I was able to book an inexpensive flight. One drawback to my cheap ticket was that I had a very tight connection in Atlanta. When I purchased the ticket, I wasn't sure if I could make my connecting flight, but I decided to go ahead and book it anyway.
I didn't make my connection. When I got to Atlanta, instead of the promised 45-minute layover, I only had a 20-minute layover. I still tried to get to my next gate. I jogged through the terminal, lugging a heavy carry-on and backpack and praying as I went. I dodged people, ran up escalators, hopped on a train, and ran some more. Believe it or not, I made it to the connecting gate in a record 12 minutes. The problem was it was two minutes after the boarding gate had closed. I was exactly two minutes too late! I could still see the plane parked at the gate and the jet-bridge was still connected to the plane. "Can't you all still let me on?" I begged a flight assistant, as I prayed. "Nope, the gate is closed!" My heart sank.
When I texted my mom, she cheerfully texted back, "Well God must have a divine appointment for you somewhere!" She was right, but that appointment wasn't in Atlanta.
An hour and a half later, I boarded the next flight for Baltimore. When I arrived, I was super pressed for my evening appointment and prayed that my luggage wouldn’t take too long to arrive. How happy I was to discover that while I had not made my connecting flight, my luggage had, and instead of having to wait for my luggage to come, my suitcase was already waiting for me. Breathing a prayer of thanks to God, I quickly grabbed my luggage and ran to book an Uber. That's when I stopped short.
The cost for an Uber was astronomical! As I looked at the prices, at least three times what I’ve paid in the past, I swallowed hard. I realized I would pay more for this Uber ride than I had paid for my entire flight to Maryland! “Show me what to do, God,” I prayed. I had two options, bite the bullet and pay for the expensive Uber and make it to the final fellowship gathering with my friends that night (which is one of the main reasons why I had come!), or I could wait for another friend to come get me and I would miss the gathering.
Not wanting to miss out on being there for my friends, I paid for the Uber…and that’s where the divine appointment began.
My Uber driver, a sweet young refugee from another country, picked me up in a bright yellow, dented up car. It was not the kind of car that you would imagine paying nearly $150 dollars to ride in. However, the young man was very friendly, and we began to talk easily. I quickly learned that he comes from a faith background that is often known for their terrorist activities and persecution against Christians.
As we began to talk, he opened up about the confusing things happening in the extreme branches of his faith group, and how disturbed he was. He also shared how he was trying to be "good" because he so dearly wanted to go to heaven. After he shared, I shared some of my testimony and the Biblical steps of salvation and going to heaven. I also shared what Jesus has done for me personally on the Cross. He listened intently. He asked questions and listened some more. I spoke straight to the heart, building on the things we had in common and then gently sharing Biblical truth. As our 30-minute ride came to a close, he told me with genuine gratefulness, “I am so very thankful I got to be the one to give you a ride tonight! This conversation was just what I needed.” I left him with my book, and he took it gratefully.
Only God knows the outcome of this meeting. I probably won’t know until eternity if the seeds that were planted actually took root, but in hindsight, I’m so glad I paid $150 dollars for that Uber ride.
The Value of a Soul
In Christ Object Lessons we read, “The value of a soul, who can estimate? Would you know it’s worth, go to Gethsemane, and there watch with Christ through those hours of anguish, when He sweat as it were great drops of blood. Look upon the Saviour uplifted on the cross. Hear that despairing cry, 'My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?' Mark 15:34. Look upon the wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet. Remember that Christ risked all. For our redemption, heaven itself was imperiled. At the foot of the cross, remembering that for one sinner Christ would have laid down His life, you may estimate the value of a soul."1
That night I made it to my friends place just in time for the fellowship to begin. As I’ve reflected on this experience and how God didn’t allow me to be on my earlier flight, I wonder if maybe I didn't come to Maryland for my friend's farewell gathering after all, or even for any of my important office work. Maybe I came because of that one soul, that one young man who, although entrenched in spiritual error is still desperately seeking for eternal life.
Call to Action
Join me in continuing to pray for this middle eastern man.
- Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Battle Creek, Michigan: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1900), 196.