In Season and Out of Season

I plopped into my middle seat on United Flight 56, from Madrid, Spain to Newark, New Jersey, somewhat dreading the seven hours in the air.  Jan and I had just said farewell to our eldest daughter, Katie, and our new grandson, Nicolas.  I couldn’t get seats together for Jan and I on the airplane, which prepared me to spend the flight feeling sorry for myself and a family separated by seats and distance.

“Headed home?” I asked the young fellow seated next to me.

“Back to Rutgers,” he answered, a tad shyly, “I spent Spring Break in Madrid.”  I am not typically a big talker on airplanes, but we settled into a little friendly patter and he seemed happy to talk about college life.  A young lady settled into the seat to my left and I greeted her.  She simply nodded her head in return, prompting me to think that she couldn’t speak English.  Nick of Rutgers continued his story.   At some point, I must have interjected with a Faith Flag to figure out his world view.

“You sound like religion is important in your life.  How did that happen?”  The young lady next to me asked this open-ended question.  Any thought of moping over leaving my family flew away, as my spirit smiled at God and I sought His aid in my answer to her question.

Connie from San Diego State and Nick of Rutgers and I talked for seven hours.  Nonstop.  Connie asked question after question after question.  We talked about the Bible, Jesus, homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism, politics, justice, sin, forgiveness, love, and eternity.  I read frequently from my Bible, enjoying every minute of this God appointed meeting.  I shared my testimony:  stories of Harlingen, Desert Storm, Burma, Honduras, clinic patients, children, parenting, life, and death.  The sincerity of the college students’ questions, and the honest love that I felt for the Jewish lady from California and for the agnostic from New Jersey, made this flight one I will never forget.  I prayed with them as we landed and said farewell.  I hope to see them in glory.  “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

As soon as I returned to the FP program, we did an ‘airplane’ role play for our Wednesday morning report.  We have to be ready to share the Gospel at all times, in all places.  We need to realize that our testimony is not simply a story of our conversion, but the accumulated stories of a life of service, and trial, and triumph.  “We overcame satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony; we did not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:11)