During a trip to Cincinnati, a twenty-something lady sat beside me on the plane. After a brief response to my greeting, she connected her earphones to her mobile device and put them in her ears. Shortly after takeoff, she added dark glasses to her travel attire and remained plugged in—or should I say out—for the duration of the flight.
I might have been offended had I not been familiar with this hallmark of our day which has rapidly become the norm. I wondered who she was, where she was going, and what her felt need was.
On my next connecting flight, a forty-something lady sat next to me. After our initial greetings, she revealed she was on her way home to offer her final goodbye to her father who’d passed away the day before. For the next hour, we shared portions of our lives, looked at family photos, and agreed to become Facebook friends. As we prepared to depart, she thanked me for the conversation that had kept her grief at bay.
“Ships that pass in the night” is a line from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem penned over 150 years ago. You’ve probably heard and used this phrase as you’ve brushed shoulders with someone while you were both on the way to your respective places. The metaphor speaks of two sailing vessels that pass in the night and shine their lights to acknowledge one another’s presence. After passing, they slip into the darkness, never to see the other again.
The enemy of this world is a master deceiver. He uses multitudes of devices to create division and separate us from the people God places around us on the way to where we’re going. Satan will stop at nothing to keep us from shining a light into someone’s darkness. Our lights may appear dim. What we do may seem insignificant. But the pure offering of our presence may be all someone needs to keep their flickering flame alive.
Daily, Jesus met the needs of people. Some He met while on the way to the next place. His presence always meant life for their souls.
God places people in your path. On the way, listen to the gentle whisper of His Holy Spirit. Acknowledge someone’s presence with yours. Shine a light into their darkness. Your paths may never cross again.
Now it’s your turn. Where did your last “on the way” experience take place? Please share.
I always welcome your comments.