GOD’S AWESOME ENCOUNTERS
The day I was hired for the airline industry remains vivid in my mind. Building hours to be an airline pilot was a strenuous goal that I was pursuing, but when events lined up unexpectedly, I wasn’t sure how to respond. I just cautiously stepped forward. For example, I received an invitation in the mail to go to an event to learn about the airline industry in the Washington, DC area. I wrestled with the fact that I didn’t have money to go to this event. My suit didn’t fit properly, and my resume was several hundred hours out of date. So upon arrival at the hotel, I crossed out the old numbers, penciled in the updated hours and made fifteen photocopies to hand out. All copied handouts clearly showed the crossed out and updated markings. I had learned that at this event there was an airline doing interviews and hiring that weekend. I was laughed at by some recruiters…maybe because of my “not so professional” resume or my “not so presentable” suit and attire. However, there was another airline that didn’t laugh at me and actually talked to me in earnest. I thank God for the opportunity to talk to the airline representative that was hiring.
The Right Person at the Right Time
I talked to the right person at the right time, who after talking with me, offered me a job right then and there. He looked beyond my appearance and my imperfect written up resume and talked to me as a person of value. I will never forget when he said, “Our company is looking for people like you. Welcome to Air Midwest Airlines!” I have been with this company for over twenty years now; this small US Airways Express carrier was owned by Mesa Air Group. I look back and praise God for allowing me this opportunity, and I consider this whole ordeal a divine coincidence. To the recruiter, I doubt that he remembers me since he interviews and hires all the time. But for me, I will never forget this recruiter as long as I live because this was an answer to prayer and a life changing experience for me.
What stands out in your mind when you think of God’s hand of providence in your life…“divine encounter,” “appointment,” “coincidence” or a “pre-ordained meeting?” Whatever the description, there is a strong sense that God’s hand was involved to allow the opportunity to occur. Initially such situations are difficult to explain, but looking back they seem clear. Remember the times when you need prayer and a brother or sister just happens to be nearby and helps carry your burdens. Maybe God places each of us as airline crew members to be in position for the customer who needs prayer in order for them to continue on. We may not realize that we are a “divine encounter” for those experiencing challenges.
Story of Israel’s First King – 1 Samuel 8:6-10:16
In the Bible, we are introduced to Samuel. He was in constant communication with God and, therefore, probably was accustomed to and didn’t think twice about the process of meeting with Saul. He was guided by God in so many areas of his life. Because he was familiar with the voice and will of God, he was able to meet with Saul to prepare him for his kingship in the future. Saul was probably taken off guard as he didn’t even know who Samuel was (a prophet of God). Looking back during his later years, Saul would be able to see God’s incredible ordained encounters.
I am inspired by this story of the early years of a young man from the smallest tribe in Israel and how he became aware of his future. The young man’s name is Saul. Saul’s father had donkeys that wandered from their farm, and his father asked him to go looking for them. Saul and his helper searched several communities and surrounding regions, asking if anyone had seen his father’s donkeys. But no one had. He commented to the helper that it would be better to return to his father so he would not begin to worry about them more than the donkeys. At this point, the helper suggested that they go see a man of God, who was called a “seer” in those days. Saul was not comfortable going as he did not have anything to offer the man of God, but his helper commented that he had some silver that he would give Saul to give to the seer. Saul then agreed to go (I Samuel 9:9, 10).
The day Saul met Samuel, Saul had asked some women if they have seen the seer and the women had said, “Yes, he is just ahead of you.” Saul continued on to the outside of town and asked a man, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?” Samuel responds, “I am the seer.” At this point, Samuel invites Saul to join him at the banquet table and then lets him know that his father’s donkeys are safe at home.
The prophet Samuel proceeds to converse with Saul at the banquet, “Who does all of the country of Israel desire? You and all your father’s family.” Saul is still looking for or thinking about the donkeys and is probably dirty, sweaty, and still a bit disoriented about all of this…and does not want his father to worry. After hearing all this, the young man Saul responds to this man that he just met, “Am I not a Benjamite from the smallest of Israel’s tribes and isn’t my clan the least important of all the clans of the Benjamite tribe? So why have you said something like this to me?” (1 Samuel 9:21)
Let us think again about the question that Saul asked the prophet Samuel: “Why have you said something like this to me?” Saul and his friend soon realize this is much more than just a meal to which they are invited. Saul is seated as the guest of honor at the head of the table yet he is still thinking about the donkeys and how his father might be worrying about him. Samuel again assures Saul that the donkeys have gone back to their home and he will shortly be able to return home as well.
Jesus desires His name, His being, and the Gospel to be shared to all people, to all nations. Samuel in a sense is comparable to a disciple who is in relationship with God and knows the voice of the Father. These encounters that I value in such a divine manner are special. whether we are like Saul and encounter God in the most unexpected situations or maybe like Samuel, when we are open to bringing others into an awareness of being connected to God through a kingly relationship with Him and to have influence of bringing others into an awareness of what God is seeking in their lives. We are vessels for God which brings glory to God. EK
(This article was written by Eugene Kraybill. Eugene serves as Vice-President of our FCAP Board of Directors and as Senior Chaplain at the Washington-Dulles International Airport. He is regional Chief Pilot for Mesa Airlines at IAD.)