Monday, February 08, 2010

Heads or Tails - Chain

Skittles started the meme Heads or Tails a while ago, today the topic is chain. This story came to my mail box today and one could call it about a chain reaction at a stretch.


 April 20, 2005, at the Airport in Knoxville , waiting to board the plane, I
 had the Bible on my lap and was very intent upon what I was doing. I'd had a
 marvelous morning with the Lord. I say this because I want to tell you it is
 a scary thing to have the Spirit of God really working in you.

You could end up doing some things you never would have done otherwise. Life
 in the Spirit can be dangerous for a thousand reasons, not the least of
 which is your ego.

I tried to keep from staring, but he was such a strange sight. Humped over
 in a wheelchair, he was skin and bones, dressed in clothes that obviously
 fit when he was at least twenty pounds heavier. His knees protruded from his
 trousers, and his shoulders looked like the coat hanger was still in his
 shirt. His hands looked like tangled masses of veins and bones.

The strangest part of him was his hair and nails. Stringy, gray hair hung
 well over his shoulders and down part of his back. His fingernails were
 long, clean but strangely out of place on an old man.

I looked down at my Bible as fast as I could, discomfort burning my face. As
 I tried to imagine what his story might have been, I found myself wondering
 if I'd just had a Howard Hughes sighting. Then, I remembered that he was
 dead. So this man in the airport... an impersonator maybe? Was a camera on
 us somewhere? There I sat; trying to concentrate on the Word to keep from
 being concerned about a thin slice of humanity served up on a wheelchair
 only a few seats from me. All the while, my heart was growing more and more
 overwhelmed with a feeling for him.

Let's admit it. Curiosity is a heap more comfortable than true concern, and
 suddenly I was awash with aching emotion for this bizarre-looking old man.

I had walked with God long enough to see the handwriting on the wall. I've
 learned that when I begin to feel what God feels, something so contrary to
 my natural feelings, something dramatic is bound to happen. And it may be

I immediately began to resist because I could feel God working on my spirit
 and I started arguing with God in my mind. 'Oh, no, God, please, no.' I
 looked up at the ceiling as if I could stare straight through it into heaven
 and said, 'Don't make me witness to this man. Not right here and now.
 Please. I'll do anything. Put me on the same plane, but don't make me get up
 here and witness to this man in front of this gawking audience.. Please,

There I sat in the blue vinyl chair begging His Highness, 'Please don't make
 me witness to this man. Not now. I'll do it on the plane.' Then I heard
 it...'I don't want you to witness to him. I want you to brush his hair.'

The words were so clear, my heart leapt into my throat, and my thoughts spun
 like a top. Do I witness to the man or brush his hair? No-brainer. I looked
 straight back up at the ceiling and said, 'God, as I live and breathe, I
 want you to know I am ready to witness to this man. I'm on this Lord. I'm
 your girl! You've never seen a woman witness to a man faster in your life.
 What difference does it make if his hair is a mess if he is not redeemed? I
 am going to witness to this man.'

Again, as clearly as I've ever heard an audible word, God seemed to write
 this statement across the wall of my mind. 'That is not what I said, Beth. I
 don't want you to witness to him. I want you to go brush his hair.'

I looked up at God and quipped, 'I don't have a hairbrush. It's in my
 suitcase on the plane. How am I supposed to brush his hair without a

God was so insistent that I almost involuntarily began to walk toward him as
 these thoughts came to me from God's word: 'I will thoroughly furnish you
 unto all good works.' (2 Timothy 3:17)

I stumbled over to the wheelchair thinking I could use one myself. Even as I
 retell this story, my pulse quickens and I feel those same butterflies. I
 knelt down in front of the man and asked as demurely as possible, 'Sir, may
 I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?'

He looked back at me and said, 'What did you say?'

'May I have the pleasure of brushing your hair?'

To which he responded in volume ten, 'Little lady, if you expect me to hear
 you, you're going to have to talk louder than that.'

At this point, I took a deep breath and blurted out, 'SIR, MAY I HAVE THE
 PLEASURE OF BRUSHING YOUR HAIR?' At which point every eye in the place
 darted right at me. I was the only thing in the room looking more peculiar
 than old Mr. Long Locks. Face crimson and forehead breaking out in a sweat,
 I watched him look up at me with absolute shock on his face, and say, 'If
 you really want to.'

Are you kidding? Of course I didn't want to.. But God didn't seem interested
 in my personal preference right about then. He pressed on my heart until I
 could utter the words, 'Yes, sir, I would be pleased. But I have one little
 problem. I don't have a hairbrush.'

'I have one in my bag,' he responded.

I went around to the back of that wheelchair, and I got on my hands and
 knees and unzipped the stranger's old carry-on, hardly believing what I was
 doing. I stood up and started brushing the old man's hair. It was perfectly
 clean, but it was tangled and matted. I don't do many things well, but must
 admit I've had notable experience untangling knotted hair mothering two
 little girls. Like I'd done with either Amanda or Melissa in such a
 condition, I began brushing at the very bottom of the strands, remembering
 to take my time not to pull. A miraculous thing happened to me as I started
 brushing that old man's hair. Everybody else in the room disappeared. There
 was no one alive for those moments except that old man and me. I brushed
and I brushed and I brushed until every tangle was out of that hair. I know this
 sounds so strange, but I've never felt that kind of love for another soul in
 my entire life.. I believe with all my heart, I - for that few minutes -
 felt a portion of the very love of God. That He had overtaken my heart for a
 little while like someone renting a room and making Himself at home for a
 short while.

The emotions were so strong and so pure that I knew they had to be God's.
 His hair was finally as soft and smooth as an infant's.

I slipped the brush back in the bag and went around the chair to face him. I
 got back down on my knees, put my hands on his knee and said, 'Sir, do you
 know my Jesus?'

He said, 'Yes, I do'

Well, that figures, I thought.

He explained, 'I've known Him since I married my bride. She wouldn't marry
 me until I got to know the Savior.' He said, 'You see, the problem is, I
 haven't seen my bride in months. I've had open-heart surgery, and she's been
 too ill to come see me. I was sitting here thinking to myself, what a mess I
 must be for my bride.'

Only God knows how often He allows us to be part of a divine moment when
 we're completely unaware of the significance. This, on the other hand, was
 one of those rare encounters when I knew God had intervened in details only
 He could have known. It was a God moment, and I'll never forget it.

Our time came to board, and we were not on the same plane. I was deeply
 ashamed of how I'd acted earlier and would have been so proud to have
 accompanied him on that aircraft.

I still had a few minutes, and as I gathered my things to board, the airline
 hostess returned from the corridor, tears streaming down her cheeks. She
 said, 'That old man's sitting on the plane, sobbing. Why did you do that?
 What made you do that?'

I said, 'Do you know Jesus? He can be the bossiest thing!'

And we got to share.

I learned something about God that day. He knows if you're exhausted,
 you're hungry, you're serving in the wrong place or it is time to move on
 but you feel too responsible to budge. He knows if you're hurting or feeling
 rejected. He knows if you're sick or drowning under a wave of temptation. Or
 He knows if you just need your hair brushed. He sees you as an individual.
 Tell Him your need!

I got on my own flight, sobs choking my throat, wondering how many
 opportunities just like that one had I missed along the way... all because I
 didn't want people to think I was strange.

God didn't send me to that old man. He sent that old man to me.


Skittles said...

What a beautiful, touching post. I had tears running down my face as I read it. Surely I must miss opportunities as well.

Jeni said...

Wonderful, simply wonderful, Bernie.

Cicero Sings said...

What a lovely and amazing story. To be open and pliable to His bidding ... how often we are NOT!

Glad to see a post from you ... hope all is well in Mexico land and that you are enjoying your time in the sun. Not much snow here ... doesn't bode well for the upcoming fire season.

Merrit eh? How about Logan Lake ... perhaps too cold or too much snow. I don't know. But close to Kamloops for shopping!!!

i beati said...

yes that is a chain reaction for me

Prizler Photography said...

And He sent your post to me. Thank you.

Amanda said...

What an amazing story! and a beautiful chain reaction!