“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Boxing God out has been a common occurrence throughout my Christian walk. Viewing Him as an opponent, with elbows out and my backside pushing against Him, I try desperately to keep him from getting the ball. This is what happened on a Southwest flight in the summer of 2017 when my husband and I were sitting together in the aisle and middle seats. Knowing the flight was not full I laid my jacket on the window seat next to me hoping no one would sit there. (Yes, I did that.) “Why is your jacket on the seat?” My husband asked, noticing the subliminal “Do not sit here” message I was sending.
“I really don’t want anyone sitting next to me so I put my jacket there hoping they wouldn’t ask.”
He replied, gently, “Uh, you should take that off the seat.”
So, while grudgingly removing my coat and sliding it under the seat in front of me, a young lady stopped and asked, “Is that seat taken?”
“No.” I whispered, letting her slide by.
Plopping in the seat next to me she promptly put her earphones in so she could listen to her music. As she did my husband noticed the album cover on her phone. “I love that band,” he said smiling.
Looking over at her phone I saw she was playing Christian music. From that moment on Avie and I were flight friends. In fact, we didn’t stop talking until we got off the plane. As it turns out she was going into her Senior year of high school and in a dilemma regarding College. She didn’t know if she should go to college or, if she did, where to attend or how she would pay for it. Her parents were divorced and focused on their new families and spouses with little to offer for advice or money for education. Avie had a heart for missions so I told her about Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and other options she hadn’t thought about. At the end of our time together she said, “Thank you so much for talking with me. I really needed to hear from someone other than my parents or my guidance counselor.”
Wow! I almost missed it. My comfort was the only thing I considered at the time and, in my narrow mindedness, forgot that God is so BIG that He could orchestrate a conversation to give a high school girl hope for her future. He loves that much. All I can think about at this moment is the waterfall of grace He has for His children. Instead of calling “foul” He rolled around me and stole the ball. I realize we are on the same team and all is forgiven, however, this encounter gives me pause for the future. I resolve not to knowingly box Him out again and asked God to make Avie an Ebenezer stone for me; a reminder that God works in subtle, loving ways, running the plays of life through His children.
Lord, please give me a heart for those you wish to lavish with your love through this earthen vessel of mine. Help me to remember. I long to be compelled by your love and to live for Christ and not myself, keeping the Passion at the forefront of my mind.
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23