By David Towler
I had just boarded a plane from North Carolina to Illinois – a connecting flight to get back to San Antonio, Texas – after a Thanksgiving experience that left me wanting. I wrote in my journal, a prayer, asking God to enliven my spirit, and that (and I quote) “when we touchdown in San Antonio, I’ll have been a rejuvenated soul for your purposes”.
So we board the plane in Chicago, Ill., and the only seat available was with a young lady in the very front of the plane. She looked at me, and said, “You can sit here, and kick your feet up!” She put her feet up against the wall, “Lots of legroom!”
So I took the seat and felt the Lord laid it on my heart to strike up a conversation. I had, up until then, no intention of really speaking to anybody on the flight. It was like one of those distant wants, where I wanted to reach out to someone with the Gospel, but knew that I wasn’t going to. But the Lord pressed in on me, and I talked to her.
I found out she was from Rochester, and had moved to San Antonio in July with her husband. She was working, but really wanted to be a teacher. She was having hard luck though; numerous attempts to apply for a teaching position, and she was turned down every time. In the back of my mind, the Lord said, “Pray for her.” And as I dwelt on the thought of prayer, He pushed me further, “No, no, don’t just pray for her, PRAY for her.” The emphasis was continual – KEEP praying for her. Then my mind exploded into this brilliant plan.
We continued talking, and she told me she attended a familiar church – which one of the satellite campuses, though, I didn’t know – and that she worked at a Starbucks off of a major highway that I knew very well.
When we got off the flight, I wanted to ask her for her number or e-mail, but was terrified that it would come off as a flirtatious attempt, and so decided against it.
The next day, I had a plan to meet with a friend of mine, Becca Rush, for coffee. I told her the whole story and she was thrilled! We decided we would find the Starbucks she worked at, and go and tell her the testimony. After MUCH searching, we happened into the Starbucks that she worked at (at a sheer guess, no less!), and asked for her at the counter. She wasn’t working. No matter! We sat down and I wrote out a note, as follows (more or less):
One of the perks of being a believer in Christ is the common fellowship among strangers, both far and near, and the joy of faithful obedience to callings into strange situations such as this! After we got off the plane, I felt compelled by the Lord to come to Starbucks and tell you, but realized you weren’t in today, so I sat down to write you this note. If you would be willing, I would like to stay in contact, and continue praying about your teaching job, and offer my prayers for anything else you would feel free to share. I know this can all seem pretty strange: a random guy in youth ministry in Houston, whom you met on a flight offers to pray for two strangers, but that is the beauty of the Gospel! It would be all my joy to pray for you. Actions of God-exalting love such as this are the fruit – not the root! – of my faith and joy in Christ! I look forward to hearing from you soon. Grace and peace to you and your husband.
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Becca proof-read the letter and gave it the thumbs-up, so we walked to the counter and I presented the letter to them. They told me they couldn’t accept it or give it to her. So we walked out of the Starbucks, questioning what we should do next.
Becca said, “Why don’t we find the church she said she attends? I think Oak Hills has an evening service.” (Now, whether or not they do have an evening service was still a mystery to me, but it was the motivation to continue our adventure.) So she looked up the location on her phone, because my phone wasn’t working properly, and wouldn’t you know it, Becca’s phone dies.
So we have the general area down, an area of town I know very generally, and we start driving. We hit the road we needed to, but it was dusk and we couldn’t see anything; the streetlights hadn’t kicked on yet. So as not to drive any further in a random direction, I pulled over into a parking lot so Becca could pull alongside me and we could re-check the map. But no need! I had pulled right into the parking lot of the church I was looking for!
The inside of the church was all dark except for a few very dim lights. We walked to the door and peered through the glass. A family was hanging Christmas lights on the other side of the sanctuary. We knocked with no response. They couldn’t hear us. We walked around to the back and knocked on the back door of the sanctuary and waited. Their son opened the door and after I explained the situation, they verified that the woman did indeed go to church there, and they let us in. It was no coincidence, then, that the family inside knew the woman and her husband, and they would see them this Sunday! We left the note with them and left, anxiously awaiting an e-mail response.
Sunday passed. Monday passed. Tuesday was almost gone and here’s where it gets interesting! When my phone chirped at me that I had an e-mail, I opened it and saw her name across the top. My heart leaped in my chest! She said thank you for the letter and it was an encouragement that she really appreciated; she was feeling rather discouraged by being turned down by all these schools, but good news, she had received a call Monday about a job interview at a middle school in San Antonio! Here’s the part that is bonkers: she received the letter in the mail AFTER she got the call for the job interview, which meant that she didn’t know I was praying for her until AFTER she had received the good news!
O praise the Lord for His great works!
Anyway, she had the job interview that Wednesday at 1 p.m. and asked if I would pray for her, and she would let me know how it went. As Wednesday rolled on, Becca and I prayed for her repeatedly. She e-mailed me and let us know she would find out if she got the job by that Friday.
She did get the job with the middle school in their special education department and is enjoying the challenges it brings! She told me her interview at the school went terribly, she thought, but I encouraged her that her “performance” may have been “terrible” so that God could display his power through getting her the job in spite of her poor performance, thus God would get all the glory because it had nothing to do with her merit or effort. And it seemed to be so! She did indeed give glory to God and relaxed about the stress of whether or not she would get the job, and found her rest in the Lord and His will.