Once again I was taking time away from my home and my husband to visit my mother in the States. This has become a frequent occurrence with Mom’s advancing age and failing health. It was going to be a long day of traveling. I had two flights ahead of me. I had selected aisle seats for a bit of extra legroom and to avoid feeling trapped. I was surprised at the number of people traveling so early on a Sunday morning and it seemed that many of them were going to be on this same plane.
I always pray for safe travel and for divine encounters that God arranges for His purposes, so I usually don’t hesitate to speak to strangers. As I located seat 23C I noticed a tiny, older woman already seated in the center seat of the row. I said a quiet “Hi” and she looked up at me with a friendly smile.
“Maybe we’ll get lucky and no one will come to claim that empty window seat,” I said to her as I was settling in. “That will give us more room and you can enjoy the view.”
Her small hand patted my arm. “That’s what I’m praying, dear,” she said softly. “It would be nice to be able to relax, lean my head on the window and take a nap.”
A few minutes later, a tall woman with a large carry-on bag stopped, looked up at the number of our row and motioned that she needed to get in to the seat at the window. I stepped into the aisle while my seat mate took the woman’s bag and found a place for it. She got up from her seat and allowed the tall woman to pass in front of her. After some juggling around, we were all seated with our seat belts securely fastened as requested.
My new-found friend and I looked at each other with small shrugs as if to say “What can you do?” We chatted a bit about where we were from and where we were headed until the noises of take-off grew too loud. We both leaned our heads back and closed our eyes as the plane accelerated before leaving the ground. I was praying for the safety of our flight and assumed she was also. I took joy in knowing that God had placed a woman who prays beside me.
I plugged in my earphones and found a movie to watch but I couldn’t stop myself from glancing now and again to see how my neighbor was faring. She was trying to catch that nap she had spoken of. She folded her arms like a pillow on the tray table and rested her head down softly. She held her sunglasses in one hand. I gently opened her fingers, took the glasses and placed them on the table before me to keep them safe. The woman in the window seat was hard asleep and had shifted on an angle with her legs taking up most of the space reserved for the center passenger. I hoped she wasn’t making my new friend too uncomfortable.
My mind was so occupied with prayers for this woman who really was still a stranger that I didn’t have time to worry about things back home or what the days ahead with my mother would bring. I think I even snickered a bit to think that God had indeed arranged things to keep me distracted.
As we were landing, my seat mate reached out her hand and tapped my arm again. She tilted her head toward the woman still sleeping, sprawled out in the window seat. “I suppose we’ll have to learn to pray differently” she smiled, shaking her head.
“I think He hears our prayers just fine,” I said, returning her smile. “That’s why he sat me next to you.”
I believe a saw the faintest blush of pink brighten her cheeks in the same way she had brightened my day.
Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Hebrews 13:1-2 NKJV
What ways have you seen God orchestrate your circumstances? Can you think of a time you may have entertained an angel unaware?