I’ve been at the airport all of 45 minutes. I’m going to Toronto, then Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) to visit my girlfriend Maya and her extended family. It’s not like beaches in the South; 100 and humid. It’s going to be around 70 and cool, which, after a few weeks of being in the 90s in Charlotte, I’m ready for. Plus, I got to pack long sleeved shirts and sweaters, which I prefer anyways (they hide my skinny arms better).
I checked my bag, walked to TSA, and stood in line, and began passing the time as usual: listening to LANY. When I got closer to the front, I took my AirPods out, and the guy in front of me started up a conversation. We talked for a few minutes; he asked where I was going, I asked the same. I told him I was going to Toronto, which he said would probably be “f***ing lit right now” because of the Raptors. I chuckled. He was going back to Cleveland, where he lives, so naturally we talked about the Browns and Panthers. I’m frustrated to say it, but his team may well do better than mine this year.
He’d been in Charlotte for an interview; he’s a police officer, but he’s “kind of finding [his] way.” He thought maybe the South wasn’t for him, and that he should try New York, or up North or something. He didn’t know if what he was doing was really for him.
After we went through TSA, I grabbed my things and walked over to a bench to put my shoes on. He followed. I knew he needed some encouragement, so I spoke up. I told him that he was created on purpose, for a purpose. That if there wasn’t a reason for him to be here, he’d be gone by now. That even though life has the tendency to tell you that you’re a waste if time and space, that it wasn’t true. And that maybe, if he’d tried it his way for 30 years (he’d mentioned his age), that maybe trying it God’s way would make a difference. I asked if I could pray for him, and he said “yes PLEASE.”
I did one of my favorite things: I prayed the Gospel over him. “God thank you that if this man was the only man ever created, you would’ve died just for him. Thank you that nothing he’s done and nothing that’s been done to him can separate him from Your love for him.” This is evangelism: it’s not necessarily walking around, finding people and warning them about hell. It’s Matthew 28:19, which, in it’s right translation, says “As you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I’ve been writing this in a Starbucks in the terminal, waiting to board. The woman I ordered from told me she “liked my spirit.” That’s the Holy Spirit. All Hail King Jesus by Jeremy Riddle is playing in my ears as I type, and it’s my heart for humanity. More than that, it’s God’s heart for humanity. That all of humanity would hail King Jesus. And it doesn't take anything complicated to see it happen; the solution is simple. It’s people like you and me choosing to live our lives with a spirit and a joy and a love and a peace and a passion that makes people notice. It’s choosing to have conversations, listen for broken places, and speak life and love. Humanity won’t hail King Jesus because a select few pastors preach the Gospel to the millions; they’ll hail King Jesus because His people take His glorious name with them to every coffee shop and convenience store, every airport and Apple Store, every shift they work and sentence they speak.
I took a slight break in typing this, because I heard over the intercom that they’d overbooked the flight, and that they were offering a $550 voucher if someone would transfer to a flight that left 3 hours later. I took that voucher.
Walking to the counter to make the switch, I saw someone in an Elevation Worship hat that I thought I recognized. And I was right. His name is Brad Hudson, and he’s one of the mainstays on the Elevation Worship team. He’s currently their Vocal Coach, and he was heading to Toronto to work with their team at the GTA Campus. His original flight was at 9am, but due to some random circumstances, he’d missed it and been bumped to standby on this flight, the flight I was giving my seat up for.
I walked over to him, introduced myself, and he gave me a hug and told me about his situation. We talked church, worship, and his frustrating flight situation. It was striking to me that, after being at the airport since 7am, and now finding out that it was increasingly likely that he’d be here until at least 4:20, how kind he was. Most people would’ve been so frastrated that they wouldn’t have wanted to talk for more than a second (and I’m not so sure I wouldn’t be one of them). But he was so full of peace. He was so kind. It was like he wasn’t even in a hurry (even though the workshop started at 5, and the next flight didn't arrive until 6:40, if he made that one). “There’s a reason I wasn't supposed to be on those flights,” he told me. This is the kind of peace that passes understanding. This is the kind of peace that makes an impact on people around you; it’s the kind of peace people are thirsting for.
He passed by me just now, as I finish writing this; my friend who I met at TSA. I waved. He smiled big and waved, too. I believe this now more than ever: We are God’s Plan A for changing the world, and there is no Plan B. The sad truth is, I’m often so consumed by my own life and agenda and problem that I miss God’s. It’s not that changing the world is so complicated; it’s that I’m too often too distracted to participate. Truly, it’s simple. We just have to choose to serve others instead of ourselves. We have to choose to “let the peace of God rule your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 3:15), so that when people see our worlds going crazy, but us staying sane, they’ll ask how. We have to choose to take the time to have a conversation with the stranger, and maybe even pray over them. And when your simple lifestyle of intentionality and love meets God’s limitless power, the world starts changing. One person at a time.