Friday, February 8, 2013

On a Sneeze and a Prayer

By Brenda Black

My head was splitting from the moment my feet hit the floor. Headaches and travel do not marry well and the itinerary didn't include time for divorce. My travel companion, for better or worse and a good thousand miles was to be an excruciatingly bad migraine.

Two hours on the road and the first leg of the journey merged into a baggage check then getting the once-over from a TSA agent who obviously graduated from a training class on face recognition or possibly a staring contest. No bomb in the shoes. No liquid in the bag, no wire under the bra, but I still had the headache. Maybe an overpriced cold turkey sandwich and liquid gold in the form of bottled water would ease the pain before take off. I bid my hubby adieu and assured him I'd be fine, even though I wanted to cry.

I found a place near the window with my gate in sight and a clear view of the luggage ramp. At first I was thrilled to see my bags the first up the conveyor belt, but struggled to interpret the conversation and gestures as each employee paid special attention to my two parcels. By the time I boarded behind wheel chairs, babies, business class and two rounds of ticket holders, the plane was nearly full and available seats scattered and sparse. In spite of the headache, I entered the plane with a smile to match the 

Southwest greeting that welcomed me aboard. Then the long, agonizing walk down the aisle ensued. It's a game of looking for the best prospect. Who looks inviting and who looks like they don't want you near them? I found a kind looking couple in the first third of the plane. He had long legs and preferred the aisle seat, she sat near him selecting the middle. That left the window -- my favorite spot. Only the awkward crawl across two strangers to get there and I could rest.

Our conversation was brief and cordial, a generic ice breaker at best. Half way across the wide horizon, a single sneeze broke the lingering silence. And that kind blonde to my right offered a sincere "Bless you."

It was enough to give me hope. All I needed was courage to ask for something more. My heart pounded with equal intensity to the throbbing in my head. I questioned what God was pressing me to do and nearly convinced myself to not risk it. But He wouldn't leave me alone, so I finally ventured: "May I ask you a personal question? When you blessed me earlier, was that evidence of your belief in prayer and in the power of Jesus Christ?" When she answered with a quick and certain "Yes,"I dared the next request: "Would you please pray for me. My head is splitting and it's getting worse."

Two strangers sat elbow to elbow and silently we joined hearts and sent thoughts heavenward. Knowing that she was covering me, I prayed for whatever measure of faith she had that it be increased. I asked the Lord to bless her and His touch on me would do a greater work in her. I honestly felt that was more important than my own relief! The pain diminished and a sneeze and a prayer later, I knew the Lord was up to something special -- He is always at work! I'm thankful my discomfort compelled me to reach out and I believe if the Lord helped me, He surely touched her as well.

For the remainder of the trip, we talked off and on and found many things in common. By the time hundreds emptied the plane, among them left my new sister in Christ.

Then I figured out why so much conversation surrounded my suitcases. I was the sole passenger remaining aboard for the next destination and those bags were commissioned to a special place in the belly of the plane.

I was alone only a matter of minutes until the plane filled again. This time I watched as one by one they loaded, and among the final ticket holders, God delivered another delightful Christian lady. We praised God for the next short 45 minute journey. I never sneezed but she still blessed me and I her when we parted company!

I met two living for the One while way up and away in the sky. A big headache and a little "achoo" are no match for blessing and a prayer and the body of Christ!

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