In the Acts of the Apostles we hear Jesus telling Paul: “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you…” (Acts 18:1-11).
Paul was opposed and reviled in the synagogue in Corinth. He then went out to proclaim Jesus to the Gentiles in the surrounding area. The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision one night saying, “Do not be afraid…” Paul went on to convert and baptize in Corinth for a year and a half.
In Paul’s vision that night the Lord went on to say, “…no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.” We are not as alone as we sometimes think that we are. We must be the “many in this city” who are God’s people. We must help one another so that none are alone.
As I boarded a return airline flight home a few years ago, I noticed a couple who had to split up in different seat rows. Since my seat was next to the husband, I offered to swap seats with the wife so that they could sit together. They gladly accepted. I took the lady’s seat and prepared for our departure.
A young Japanese girl took the seat beside me. As the plane started down the runway, the flight was aborted. When the pilot announced engine trouble, I could tell that the girl was confused. It turned out that she was a foreign exchange student on her way to her new home in America. Her English speech and understanding was poor.
I tried to explain to Yoko what had happened. I even tried drawing pictures to help explain. I asked her what her destination was. She named a town that very few people would have recognized. It just happened to be a small town where my church has a camp. It’s about two hours from my home. My family has gone there regularly over the years.
When we got back to the terminal, I called my home airport and had her foster parents paged. They responded and I told them what had happened and that I would look after Yoko. We shared stories about their town and my church camp.
After a three hour delay, we took-off and made it home. I visited with Yoko and her foster parents as we waited for our baggage. We made plans to get together the next time my family went to our church’s camp. Yoko will be in America for one year.
It’s amazing what giving up my seat on the plane led me into. I was given the opportunity to help someone who was alone. I’ve found several new friends to boot. I’m going to look harder for ways to “give up my seat.” Try it! God guarantees us a great experience.