It was a routine flight: traffic to the airport was great; security lines moved quickly; boarding went smoothly; departure and landing were right on schedule. The two and a half hour flight went by quickly as I had brought with me more than enough to keep me busy. As we prepared for landing, I put everything away, leaned back with my eyes closed and waited for touchdown. As the wheels screeched on the pavement below, I was awakened out of my five minute cat-nap and looked out into the darkness from my window seat.
The flight attendant was now giving announcements as we approached the gate but a seriousness characterized the tone of her voice. She said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to ask you to remain in your seats upon arrival for just a few moments. We have an emergency medical team meeting our plane to assist a passenger who has become ill. Please be courteous and remain in your seats until the paramedics can board the plane and provide assistance.” As we approached the gate, I could see the ambulance in place with lights flashing.
Everyone on the plane was silent. It was so unlike a normal arrival. Usually people are on cell phones as they push and shove to grab their carry-on baggage and maneuver toward the exit. As inconspicuously as possible each of us began to glance over the seat in front and behind us in hopes that perhaps we could spot this person in trouble. As the door opened and four paramedics came on board, I was surprised to learn that the lady in need was just two rows behind me on the opposite side of the plane. In a matter of moments they lifted her off the floor where she was lying between the seats and carried her off the plane to the waiting ambulance.
Each of us on that plane had an agenda that day. We had plans, connections to make, people to meet, transportation waiting, etc. But all those plans stopped and ceased to be important when we suddenly learned of a crisis in our midst. No one was upset that we were delayed or inconvenienced for a few minutes. The need of that one passenger was far greater than anything on our to-do-lists.
In Mark chapter ten the story is told of Jesus traveling near Jericho. A great number of people suddenly were pressing upon Him. Above the bustle of the moment however, a voice could be heard from the side of the road, “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy upon me.” No doubt many in the crowd paid no attention to this blind beggar, and those who did, told him to be quiet and go back to begging. However, he continued to cry out and Jesus stood still. In spite of everything that was on the Lord’s mind that day and the pressing needs around Him, He stood still and commanded this man to be called and proceeded to heal him.
God spoke to my heart that day as I walked through the terminal and has continued to do so many times since. We get so focused on what is important to us—our needs, our agenda, our schedule, our plans. And if we are not careful, we will pay no attention to the crisis around us. Every person we meet today is going to spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell! Does that concern us? Are we willing to put our schedules on hold in order to tell them how they can go to Heaven?
What on your to-do-list will make it into eternity? Somewhere on your journey through life today, God may want you to “stand still” and meet the need of someone alongside the road. Don’t miss that opportunity! You may not pass that way again.