She sat beside me on the plane. A new dress, colors of red and orange and yellow so bright, with white sandals on her feet. A wig made her look youthful, though her years were evident in her face.
So was the fear.
With trembling hands she took out her tickets and thrust them my way as our plane touched down in Atlanta.
“What do I do next?”
I showed her the number of her next flight and promised I’d stand with her and find her gate on the monitor. As she walked in front of me out of the plane, her gait was uneven and seemed painful.
I pointed to the monitor and shared the gate number. She repeated “B-22” at least 10 times under her breath.
She and I took off down the crowded corridor and then suddenly she took a right and went into the bathroom.
I was 100% certain I was supposed to follow her, but I couldn’t. Follow a stranger into the bathroom? Help her when she clearly made a choice to move away from me?
That’s when I almost missed my assignment.
I reasoned that she might not want help, but I have to be honest. Our last flight was delayed, so it was close for both of us. We were in two different terminals.
So I kept walking.
Then I realized I had missed the exit by 10 gates. I spend a lot of time in airports and I know where the escalator to the train is located.
The whole time God hammering in my heart to go back and get her.
I can see missing a familiar exit by one gate, but not two, and certainly not ten.
Had my God delayed me?
I turned, knowing with everything within me the sight I would see when I arrived at the escalator.
And there she was.
A beautiful orange and red and yellow dress moving toward me with that painful gait in a crowd of thousands. She arrived at the escalator at the EXACT moment as I did. I fell in line, standing on the step just behind her.
She turned, and in her hand was a crumpled paper towel wet with her tears.
I looked at the airport, my second home away from home, through her eyes. Five terminals. Thousands of people, all busy and rushing. Numbered gates and signs with icons of airports and arrows that point at crazy angles. A train with bells and whistles and a mechanical voice sounding out the next terminal number.
“Can I walk with you all the way to your gate?” I asked.
“Do you remember my gate number?” she asked, digging in her purse for her ticket.
“B-22,” I said.
When we landed at her gate, she reached out her hand and our fingers laced.
Then I ran to my gate.
Thankful for a God who blinded me to the gate so that I walked a long way out of my way. . . just for her.
Thankful for a God who sees a woman crying in the bathroom and meets her need.
Thankful for a God who wouldn’t let me miss my assignment for the day.
What is your assignment today?
Will it take you out of your way?
Will it be an answer to someone’s prayer?
Will it bring them comfort when they don’t know where to turn?
Will it show them His love?