Standing at the edge of the crowd, I glanced to my left and saw him, kneeling, alone in the midst of a crowd of weary airport travelers. Absorbed in their own frustration with another delay no one seemed to notice this man so clearly in pain. Something was wrong, this was not just a tired traveler.
I felt God’s gentle nudge telling me this stranger needed help and that no one else had stepped forward because God wanted me to. I slowly walked toward him, pausing a respectful distance away, but close enough to feel his agony. I still wasn’t sure if he was in medical or emotional distress. Praying for guidance I remembered the packet of Kleenex in my purse.
With several soft white tissues in one hand I stepped closer and placed my left hand on his trembling shoulder and gently pushed the Kleenex into his clenched fist. He did not look up, but instead crumbled further into his pain. I stood in silent prayer with my hand on his shoulder until he collected himself. When my heart told me it was time I kneeled down, hand still on his shoulder, and asked how I could help.
In a few halting sentences I learned that he was trying to reach his dying father. He was afraid he was not going to get there in time.
Now I knew why God had told me to help. I had just lost my father. I knew the raw agony he was feeling.
Does your father know you are coming? Yes. Who is with him? My mom. Do you have siblings? Yes, a brother, he’s on his way, too.
Let me tell you a story, I said.
Your dad is in control. God is in control.
Your dad knows you are on the way. If your dad’s spirit needs to see you before he dies, then he will wait for you. If your dad’s spirit is at peace knowing that you will be there soon to comfort your mother, then he may let go. Whatever comes your dad is in control, with God, and nothing that happens today will change God’s plan.
Be at peace. Know that when you woke this morning God already knew how this day would unfold. God is with you all.
I handed him the remaining tissues I had and asked if I could give him a hug. A few moments later we boarded the plane and I never saw him again.
I am in awe of God and how He used me, even in the midst of my own mourning, to help another of his beloved children. I pray I continue to be open to feeling God’s nudges and promptings all the days of my life.