Being the Answer
Now you are the Body of Christ, and members individually (I Cor. 12:27).
Our recent trip to New York City to celebrate my husband Bill’s 50th birthday was nearly perfect. We ate great food; visited art museums and galleries; enjoyed the festivities of the Big Apple during the holidays — with all her glitter and lights — and we saw two amazing Broadway shows.
Still, I was ready to be home — even with its mundane normalcy, to my pets and mostly, to my children. So when we received the news that a major snowstorm was headed toward western North Carolina, we had two choices — change our week’s plans and stay in NYC for a couple more days or try and get home despite the coming storm, perhaps rerouting to a different airport.
Although Bill, always the adventurer, would have loved to stay, he knew this might cause some chaos and confusion with work, as well as with our family. It would mean finding childcare for our nine year old daughter and extending our dogs’ stay at the boarders. And, because he often sacrifices his own wishes to grant those of others, he heard my heart when I reasoned, “Going home later in the week might cause conflict, and honestly, I’m ready to be back — especially if it means getting to see snow on Selah Farm.” (We don’t get a lot of the white wonder during NC winters.)
And so, reluctantly but without complaint, Bill looked online to see about our scheduled flight from Newark to Asheville. Sure enough. The Asheville airport was predicted to close due to the incoming weather. We’d likely have to fly into another airport.
After speaking to a representative with Allegiant Air, she rerouted us to Knoxville — which is only about an hour and a half from our home near the Tennessee border. We were scheduled to fly out the following morning, arriving by early afternoon.
We then spoke to our oldest son, Ian, and arranged for him to meet us at the airport, since our vehicle was still in Asheville. After all the arrangements had been made, we were both able to sleep peacefully.
The next morning, just as predicted, western NC got slammed by a major arctic blast which brought, by storm’s end, a whopping eighteen inches of snow to Selah Farm and her surrounding areas. The Asheville airport closed, and all flights in and out were cancelled. My dad began sending pictures of our daughter Allie playing in the snow — making snow angels, building a snowman and visiting her horse Mick with a carrot that was intended to be a nose. My excitement to be home grew with each photograph, and Bill — who delights in my delight — was happy too.
At the airport awaiting our departure, we — along with many others — were glued to our devices, as we watched the weather reports and weather-related news. Several around us had, like us, planned on flying into Asheville but had been rerouted to Knoxville, as well. Overhearing one another’s conversations, we began to talk amongst ourselves. Some were trying to figure out how to get from Knoxville to Asheville to get their vehicles. Some were wondering aloud if the flight into Tennessee might also be cancelled, as our departure time was pushed back once… twice…
Two women sitting nearby were among those considering all this. They had traveled together to NYC to take part in a girls’ getaway weekend with others who had joined them from their respective cities. Like us, they’d seen shows, shopped and enjoyed great food. Now they were concerned — trying to figure out how they were even going to get home.
“My husband’s afraid to drive through the gorge on I-40,” one woman, who I learned was Leslie, said aloud. “He’s suggesting we get a hotel for the night and come home Monday. By then, maybe the interstate will be better.”
We sympathized, understanding that this stretch of highway near where we live can be treacherous in bad weather — sometimes nearly impassable.
After a third delay and more talk of the possibility that our flight into Knoxville might also be cancelled, I excused myself to stretch my legs and use the restroom.
When I returned, folks were gathering their things — as the announcement had been made that our flight was ready, and we could begin boarding soon. As I checked to be sure we had all our things, Bill said, “Those two women — the ones we were talking to before, from Asheville — I invited them to ride with us from Knoxville home. Ian can put all our luggage in the back of his truck, and we can squeeze in. There’s room enough, and he said he would even take them on to Asheville to meet their husbands after dropping us off. I hope that’s okay.”
Okay? Of course it was okay, and it was just like Bill — always the giver.
We got in line to board, and the women — Leslie and Janie — thanked us again. They were so happy to have a plan, even though it meant riding with complete strangers, enduring a slow drive from Knoxville to our home and then on to Asheville — through snow, on icy roads. Still, their faces beamed.
Once we’d landed at the Knoxville airport, we met near baggage claim, and they thanked us again, hugging us tight. “Our husbands can’t thank you both enough,” Janie said. “Neither can we.”
Ian pulled up to meet us curbside. We introduced him to our new friends and travel mates. They insisted on taking some pictures to send to their husbands. Then we all climbed in and started for home.
And what a delightful visit we had — learning that one of their husbands knew Bill from the medical community; the ladies and I share a love for a particular author, the late Kara Tippetts, whose book and testimony has touched us deeply; and we share a common faith in Christ.
At one point in our journey, Leslie shared something that made Bill and me exceedingly happy — something we didn’t know but were so grateful to learn.
“Janie and I were afraid,” Leslie began. “We were worried about how we were going to get home. We knew we could stay an extra day, but we didn’t really want that. We already miss our families so much. So we prayed, joining hearts to ask God to help us. And you know what? In less than five minutes, He did. He answered. Our good and loving God used you to answer our prayers.”
Janie added, “Yes. No sooner had we sat back down when you, Bill, asked if we would like to ride with you. Just like that.”
Wow! You know what? It just feels so good…
Being the answer!
And you know what else? I think it delights God even more — to hear His children ask and then to see His children answer. That’s the Body of Christ at work! Even when His “Body” looks like a big, bright blue Chevy pickup plowing through snow.
I’m convinced — there are no strangers in the family of God. Just brothers and sisters in Christ who, perhaps, haven’t yet met — bound together in God’s love.
I’m so thankful that my “family” just got bigger — all because Bill said “yes” to…
Being the answer.
(“Sisters”, from left to right — Leslie, Mo, friend and neighbor Beth and Janie)
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