Archives For Personal Thoughts

There’s only one crown in my household, and I wear it. I will not share. Nobody’s allowed to touch it. It is mine to boast of and wear proudly.

For some husbands, their crown is buried under empty soda cans and candy wrappers on the floor of their truck. Some only wear it at home but hang it up in the closet when they leave for work or to hang with the guys. I fear many husbands can’t don a crown because they don’t have one. And others have one, but haven’t recognized it.

But not me. Mine rests upon my head day and night, no matter where I may go. Some ask about it and I am all to glad to brag about every intricate detail and jewel. So spare me a few moments as I elaborate.

My crown represents selflessness. Not just a duty, but a desire to put others first. A servant’s heart that longs for the well-being of others above their own. A passion to go beyond the normal expectancies to fulfill every need possible.

It stands for love. Not a scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours kind of love. But one that cares for friends, family, and even an enemy. One motivated by self-sacrifice and devotion.

On the crown gleams jewels of joy. That even in the midst of chaos and confusion, a song of praise is sung. One that can smile through adversity and shatter walls of despair and sorrow. It represents a confidence that life is good no matter the circumstances.

It boasts about faith. An ever growing reliance on Almighty God. A belief that what He says will be and who He is will never change. A trust in the Lord for every decision and doubt. A lifestyle that pleases God.

It shines faithfulness. Eyes that never dart to the right or left. A devotion to one that never wavers or falters. One who is awed by the Lord’s commitment to them and vows to do the same in their relationships. Never entertaining imaginations of disloyalty.

It is a crown of wisdom. Not just knowing right and wrong, but the absolute desire to please God with every movement. The ability to discern between the works of God and demons. One that understands their role and purpose and seeks to do it well. Is slow to speak, yet quick to listen. But when speaking, blesses those who hear.

And finally, it portrays a brilliance of holiness. This isn’t merely abstaining from sin, but despising everything contrary to God. It’s a rightful understanding of who one is and to what kingdom they belong. Its a satisfaction with the Lord and a life that resembles His Son.

crown

This is my treasure, my crown. I wear it unashamed. It is a gift and one that deserves recognition.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.
Proverbs 12:4a

I love you, Danielle. Keep shining.

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worship

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God,
that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Hebrews 13:15 ESV

Worship is central in the Christian life. Few people would argue this. Scripture commands us that in everything we do, do it all for the glory of God. Yet so often, whether among other saints or in private, my sacrifices feel so incomplete. Even in my deepest, purest moments, it never seems enough.

I want to encourage you if this is how you feel as well. Because its true. Our praise is never worthy of Him. And it always will be this way this side of Heaven.

God is the Holy of Holies. His glory far surpasses everything we deem as glorious. If we stretch our imagination and envision perfection, He is far more. God’s character is so pure and untarnished that anything less than Him cannot enter His presence. The cheribum, who guard God’s holiness, continually sing, “Holy, holy, holy!” The Seraphim, in Isaiah 6, are shown praising in the same way but hiding their face and feet with their wings before the Lord.

So how are we supposed to adequately praise the Holy of all Holies? Because in Hebrews 12 we are commanded to:

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,  for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 that a new way to worship was approaching. Worship that wasn’t stringent on location, but solely Spirit and truth. When we believe in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, for our salvation, we are completely changed. The Holy Spirit indwells us, we are newly created, our heart is no longer deceitful and wicked, and our spirit is quickened. These changes are the ONLY reason we can offer acceptable worship.

But we have to be honest. Even when we offer a sacrifice of praise THROUGH Him, its still not completely worthy of Him. Because even though we are holy on the inside, we are still wrapped in sinful flesh. Pride, selfishness, doubt, and fear still seep into our songs and prayers.

Why then are they acceptable to God?

There isn’t a perfect illustration, but here’s the best I can come up with.

My two sons draw and color pictures constantly. Everyday, a new stack of artwork is finished for my viewing. Most you can tell took no time at all. Their name is spelled correctly, just backwards. Scribbled crayon reach far outside the lines of the picture. Or only 10% of the page is even touched. I always compliment but am quick to remind them that they can do better. These were rushed jobs and I know that if they take their time, they can do excellent work.

There’s one page though that hangs in my bedroom. My oldest drew a picture of himself on a swing with me pushing him. Below it he wrote ‘Thank you.’ Granted it was done by a four-year-old so it was in no way perfect. The H in Thank was originally a G, crossed out, and replaced with the correct letter.

I don’t treasure it because of the perfect artwork or spelling. But because I know it took him a long time and he did it to the best of his ability. All to tell me ‘Thank you.’

I have to believe our Heavenly Father is the same way. His children attempt to thank him in their limited and often broken ways. But when its genuine, he delights in the praise because we are his children and he understands our limitations.

Praise God for the Spirit who indwells us. He prays for us when we don’t know what to pray. Our worship is made complete when its done through him. And we constantly need him to be able to worship properly.

So no matter how insignificant you may feel, worship. No matter how broken you are, worship. Give him what you have. He may not receive it if its rushed or done sloppily. And yet he anticipates when its done with the right motivation from a heart of gratefulness. Not because its perfect, but because its from us.

Vicky BeechingJoining Ray Boltz and Jennifer Knapp, Vicky Beeching is the latest Christian music artist that has come out as gay. Her story starts in childhood, 12-years-old and fighting feelings for other girls. Confused and ashamed, she reached out to the church for help. Her testimony involves confessing to a Catholic priest and even an “exorcism” where a group of tongue-speaking radicals demanded that Satan leave her.

These futile attempts made no difference for the obvious reason that they had no power. That priest simply recited a memorized prayer and bid her adieu. These others rambled but didn’t pray in Christ’s name or for His will.

The heartbreaking part of her story is the moment she’s face down sobbing before the Lord to take her life or take away her attraction for girls because she couldn’t handle it any longer. But God didn’t. So she believes God made her that way and loves her. Now a leading advocate for same-sex marriage in the church, her testimony has inspired others to be comfortable in their sexual orientation as well.

My question is, “Why didn’t God remove her attraction for the same gender?”

Simply put, it wasn’t the right request.

She prayed that God would remove this attraction as if it was a tumor or a headache. Although as a believer we have power over sin and its temptations, they are not removed. It is a constant battle for purity with the world and our flesh combating us from every angle.

I’ve read numerous testimonies of people who struggled with homosexuality but realized its sinfulness when they believed in Christ. Although they are God’s child and striving for purity, those old feelings still surface at times. God never removed the attraction, but have given them the ability to withstand the temptations.

Alan Chambers, for example, said this, “As far as my life goes, I am married,” he said. “I am happily married. There’s not been one day in the course of our nearly 16 years of being married that I’ve been tempted to be unfaithful to my wife. I would say I have an orientation towards her. I do have same-sex attractions. But to say I have same-sex attractions would be the same as saying I was a married man with opposite-sex attractions.” *

Sixteen years! Even after sixteen years of a heterosexual marriage, those old sins are still haunting him, teasing him, tempting him to fall again.

A man addicted to porn will still feel the pull to those websites after coming to Christ. An alcoholic will still be beckoned by the bottle after giving his life to Jesus. A formerly promiscuous woman will still struggle with her identity even after becoming a child of God.

But, as a Christian, we’ve been given the Spirit of God to overcome these temptations.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)

Our past isn’t obliterated at the moment of salvation, it simply loses its control and power. The presence of sinful temptations is not evidence of God’s stamp of approval but that we are still wrapped in flesh that opposes the truth of God. Even the Apostle Paul struggled in his flesh. He writes this in Romans 7.

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

The problem inflates when Christians equate the presence of evil desires as God’s will because they were not removed when they were newly created in Christ Jesus. Yes, God loves Vicky Beeching. Yes, Christians ought also to love her. But no, God did not create her this way or approve of her homosexual lifestyle.

We need to beware of twisting Scripture based on feelings or experience. Truth is truth no matter what. Just because we are convinced that our worldview, mindset, or orientation is natural or born to us, doesn’t make it Biblical.

As believers in Christ, we are commanded to work out our salvation. This requires running away from temptation, praying for purity and sanctification, and trusting that God’s laws are for our benefit. I can’t relate to the homosexual struggle. I’ve never experience same-sex attractions. But other sins torment me and mercilessly disrupt my Christian life. In our love and devotion to Christ, we must flee these desires and cling to the holiness given to us by God.

 

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/04/alan-chambers-exodus-international-_n_3696750.html

handicapsignI am a medical mystery.

I’ve recently consulted numerous doctors. For years I’ve suffered from a heat intolerance that often erupts into hives. Although it only lasts for about ten minutes at a time, it’s excruciating. I was told it’s called Urticaria but a cure has never been found. The only advice they could give was for me to take an antihistamine every day. My wife and I jokingly called it my “thorn in the flesh.”

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
II Corinthians 12:7

But I wonder how close to the truth it is. I stumbled across a verse today that I couldn’t stop thinking about. A verse that emphasizes the fragility of mankind and the sovereignty of the Lord.

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Exodus 4:11

The Lord spoke to Moses from a burning bush, commanding him to go to Egypt and rescue his people from the hands of Pharaoh. Moses offered advice to the Lord and said that somebody else should go. He was not eloquent enough in speech. Then the Lord spoke verse 11. God continues and tells Moses that He will speak through him if he would simply obey.

But that verse soared off the page at me. Did I read it right? God makes people deaf. God makes people blind. It was God’s choice to create people unable to speak. If mankind had never sinned, all would be born perfect. But since that factor has been thrown into the equation, now God creates people with these ailments.

I always excused handicaps as simply the result of living in a depraved world. But in doing so, my theology fell far short. In John 9, Jesus and his disciples came upon a man who had been born blind. According to Exodus 4:11, God had purposefully created this man with eyes that didn’t function. The disciples inquired as to why the man was blind.

Did his parents sin? Was it because of this man’s sin? Jesus denied those as reasons and simply stated this: ““It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Now, having read about Paul’s thorn in the flesh and this man’s blindness, I could see a common theme. God wanted glory in Paul’s life so he kept Paul from being conceited. God wanted glory in the other man’s life so he created him blind (Jesus would later miraculously heal the blind man).

In both, God created them in certain ways to bring himself glory.

This gives my ailment a whole new meaning. A completely brilliant purpose. The blind man called out for a cure, and it was given after years of suffering. Paul cried out for relief on three separate occasions, and yet was given none. He went on to say this about the Lord’s response.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Now, my plight isn’t near the severity of the blind, deaf, or mute. But its still difficult. God has revealed through Scripture reasons for our physical difficulties. Jesus’ full concentration was not on this life, but his kingdom. He wasn’t satisfied with just making people comfortable, happy, and content. But driven with his mission to relieve the world from sin and its destructive consequences forever, He was always looking forward to eternity. This life is short, and the physical limitations that weigh us down every day, will only torment us for a little while.

Jesus pointed to the time when sickness, pain, and death are no longer a factor. But until that time, God uses handicaps, illnesses, and limitations to make us holy. Consider it joy, all you reading this, when you face trials because the testing of your faith will bring maturity. And when we mature in our faith, God is magnified.

Allow your struggles to make you better, not bitter. In your imperfect condition, give God glory, not grief. God created and formed you exactly how you are knowing full well the struggles you’d face because of it. These struggles cause us to rely on Him more. Relying on Him more reminds us how weak we are. But when we are weak, through Christ, we are strong.

So many books, but I never read. I need to exercise, but chances are, that won’t happen. My Bible needs studied every week, but that seems like way too much work in the evenings.

So many reasons.
So many excuses.

No more.

watchingtv

My wife and I realized that way too many hours were spent in front of the flat screen engrossed in mindless stories that were forgotten by the next morning. After the kids go to bed every night, we have a couple of hours for us. By then, we are so exhausted, we usually crumble into the recliner and stare glassy-eyed at the T.V. entertained by crime shows, comedies, and documentaries.

As the God-appointed leader of my home, conviction began leaving me unsettled. Is this how I want my children to be? Is this how God wants me to spend my time? Am I edifying my wife? The answer was a resounding “No.”

So, I wrote a weekly evening schedule. And for two weeks now, we’ve followed it. At times, we’ve been tempted to go back to the way things were, but we know this is the right thing to do. Remember, this is just pertaining to what we do after the kids go to bed.

Sunday-Anything we want
Monday-Anything we want (Sunday and Monday are my days off)
Tuesday-Exercise and then reading
Wednesday-Bible Study and then T.V.
Thursday-Reading
Friday-Exercise and the reading
Saturday-Bible Study and then T.V.

I encourage all families to do something like this if T.V. is a major part of life. Your schedule might be different. It might include projects, crafts, or education. But for me, I needed something written down to actually be committed to follow it. It might be the same for you.

God has given us only a few years to raise our children to who they will be later. He has blessed us with time which he expects to be used well. He’s placed in our possession his very words and has commanded us to know them. I pray this blog encourages you to take a step back and ask, “Am I a good steward of what the Lord has given me?”

If you are, how are you going to continue? If not, what are the steps that you’re going to take to fix that?

Church Shopping Network

September 25, 2013 — 4 Comments

churchbuilding

So many people today are “church shopping.” I despise this term. Christians are visiting different places of worship every week in hopes of finding the perfect church. They treat this task the same as if they were buying curtains or a new vehicle. Current fads, style, and design take center stage as they take notes from the pew.

All sin is grounded in selfishness. Unfortunately, many who search for a church, though it seems like a good thing, do so in sin. Its all about me. It’s what suits me. It’s what makes me feel comfortable. It’s what meets my needs. Me, me, me, me….

Enough!

Take this or leave it, but here is my suggestions in how to search for a local church body to join.

What to search for:

1) A church with correct doctrine and theology. This is of the utmost importance. If this point is not met, move on. Correct teaching from the Scriptures must be priority. Primarily the teaching of Jesus, the Scriptures, and salvation. Many churches have websites now and their doctrine of beliefs are available. If not, don’t be afraid to ask the pastor or church leader for a written statement of belief. This must be solidified first and foremost.

2) A church that practices the Great Commission. Evangelism and discipleship must be the focus. Every ministry should have purpose, either to reached the unsaved, or build up the saved. The gospel should be preached from the pulpit. (Yes, that means mentioning sin, death, and hell.) All members should be strongly encouraged to disciple others while continually being discipled by another.

3) A church that overflows with love. Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Faith and hope are great. But love exceeds them all. No true worship can flow from an unloving heart. No true ministry can occur without it being grounded in love. It’s a beautiful thing to see a body of Christ that would sacrifice themselves for each other. Money shifting pockets as needs are presented. Time spent with each other in sweet fellowship. Prayers rushing to the Lord for other peoples’ struggles. Selfless, pure, and righteous. The way God originally intended it to be.

4) A church that has a place for you. A believer in Jesus Christ is commanded to serve. Unfortunately, too many look for a place to be served. As we search for a body of Christ, we should be keeping an eye out for a ministry to join. We’ve all been granted spiritual gifts, and we should desire to use them to God’s praise and glory. So when we scan over their list of ministries, we are NOT looking to be taught, served, and ministered to. We are striving to find a place that we could benefit the mission of the church.

What not to search for:

1) A church with lots of ministries. Lots of ministries simply means the church is really busy. The question is raised, are they effective? A local body with two main ministries could be more obedient and successful then a megachurch with two hundred. This goes back to the fulfillment of the Great Commission and the heart of love.

2) A church with good music. Now realize that this comes from a worship leader. I can’t stand when people switch churches because they found another with “better” music. Worship is an attitude of the heart. And if somebody can only worship to a certain genre, sin is present, and worship is hindered. If our love for God outpours from our hearts, we should be able to sing a cappella and praise him. But no. We have to have a full praise band, the latest Powerpoint presentations, and room up front to bounce up and down.

praisemoshpit

Or on the flipside, we must only have hymnals in hand and have an organ accompany the song.

hymnal

This is SIN!! No matter what is played in church, you CAN worship to it. It’s not about the music. It’s about the Lord. You can listen to your favorite styles and genres all the rest of the week. But whatever is played during the service is not important. What is important is the truth of the lyrics and the focus of the worshippers.

3) A church building that looks good. The first church in Acts met in homes. Some worshipped in prison cells. Enough said.

4) A church with a well-known pastor. We like sheep have gone astray, each of us to the most popular church in the city. There are some great pastors and teachers out there. Some have written books. Others have TV shows. But it doesn’t mean you need to be there. God may want you in a small country church because he could use you best there. Don’t follow names. Follow God. Even Paul was glad he didn’t baptize people because he didn’t want to hear people bragging that they were “of Paul.” It’s all about Jesus.

I’m sure there are reasons I’ve overlooked but I don’t want this to drag on. My point is this. Church is not about serving ourselves. It’s about serving Jesus and his people. Find a church that you can do just that in spirit and in truth. Happy shopping!

Good People?

August 31, 2013 — Leave a comment

Why do bad things happen to good people?

The age old question that just won’t go away. As long as there are tragedies, calamities, disasters, and broken hearts, there will be people asking. Many Christian scholars, pastors, and teachers have answered with Scripture and profound philosophical responses.

But before we answer, we need to realize that the question is flawed. Usually when somebody asks this, they have somebody in mind. One who loved their family and friends, was a good citizen, and attempted to help others. But how do we truly know that somebody is good?

A young man approached Jesus and called to him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus doesn’t begin by answering the question but addressing the term ‘good.’

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”

Remember, when God created man, he formed him from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Up to that point, all that he had created was good. But after man entered the scene, God declared it all to be very good.

God intended us to be blameless, enjoying an intimate relationship with him. But man thought he knew best and disobeyed God’s one command. That one decision corrupted not only mankind, but the world around him. Harmony became violence. War replaced peace. God no longer walked and talked with his beloved creation. Their sin separated them from him.

According to God’s Word, we are not good. There is no good in us. What used to be blameless is now evil. And the whole world groans under the consequences of our selfishness.

And yet, when a person believes in Jesus, his death, and resurrection, God Himself recreates him. We are changed, made anew. God indwells us and works through us. We still have our flesh which is prone to sin, but we have the ability to do good because the One who is good is working in us.

Still, troubles come to those who love God. Recently my wife and I lost our baby. She wasn’t too far along, not even showing yet. But it still hurt. If my hope wasn’t secure in Christ, I could easily shake my fist at the sky and ask, “Why?”

But I’m reminded of all the times that I betrayed my God. The times I broke his heart and chose my will over his. And I realize that I deserve much worse than anything happening to me. Death is my fault. Pain and suffering are a result of my sin. Our sin.

Trials happen no matter what. But God chooses to not remain silent during those times. He lavishes grace upon us and gives us the promise that he will work it out for good if we trust him. He overcame the world so we can as well through him. And I’ve come to the conclusion that “Why does bad things happen to good people?” is an inapplicable question.

The better question is “Why does God choose to do good things for bad people?”

And when I ask myself that question the only response is to bow my head…

and worship.

A Choir of Tiny Voices

August 3, 2013 — 2 Comments

I hear a choir
Of tiny voices
To their Father
Singing praises

We love you, Jesus
We adore you, Father
Thanks for holding
Us in your arms

I hear a choir
Of tiny voices
They don’t cry vengeance
Or retribution
They pray for mercy
And sweet salvation

Please rain down your grace
Undeserved
I want to meet Mommy
Spend eternity with her

Singing, we love you, Jesus
We adore you, Abba
For wanting children
That never knew love

We love you, Jesus
We adore you, Father
Thanks for holding
Us in your arms

I hear a choir
Of empty choices
Singing boldly
With tiny voices

2:30 A.M. I wake to a feeling of somebody watching me. Startling awake, I meet eyes with a very tired looking two year old. He just stands there and stares at me.

“What are you doing, Myles?”

He doesn’t answer so I pull my tired frame out of bed to take him back to his room. I walk behind him across the living room but my eyes can’t adjust to the darkness. I stumble sideways losing my equilibrium. Somewhere ahead of me is the tired toddler.

“Myles, stop moving. Let me find a light switch.”

I fumble for the bathroom light. But before I am able to flip the switch…

Thump!

I squint through the now lit hallway to a small child tumbling backward. Just a few inches to the left, and he would’ve walked through the doorway to his bedroom perfectly. But instead he smacked face first into the wall, right between the eyes.

Surprisingly, he doesn’t cry. He just moans as I scoop him up and place him back into the safety of his covers. I turn the light back off and cautiously trek back to my bed.

Deuteronomy  6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall  be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and  shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and  when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your  hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

God has blessed me tremendously with two amazing boys. But with that blessing, comes responsibility. As their father, I must train them up in the Word of God. We are all born in spiritual darkness, and Jesus, our Light, is the way that we can be healed of that blindness. The only way to know Jesus is read and believe what is written in the Bible.

God will hold me accountable of how I raise the children he has given to me. As he will for every father. If we refuse to show them the truth and teach them about the Lord, they will continue to walk with veils on their eyes. Hurt and destruction are all that await them.

Read them the Bible. Pray over them continually. Show them a Godly example. God’s commands should be between their eyes. Not a wall.eyes

There is no feeling like being trapped at 30,000 feet and having nowhere to run. I had that kind of experience several years ago.

In 2005, I flew to Maine to visit Danielle, who later became my wife. I was really excited about this trip as I’d never been to the Northeast before. It took three flights to cross the nation, and I chose to fly at night to save costs.

I was seated across the aisle from the only bathroom on the first flight. Now I can’t say it dogmatically because I don’t know for sure, but I’m thinking somebody forgot to clean it. A stench smacked me across the face every time the door was opened. And on that short flight, an overactive bladder became an epidemic among the passengers. No doubt this was going to be the worst leg of the entire trip.

Boy, was I wrong.

The longest trek was the middle flight. I sat at the airport and conversed with a couple of people as we waited to board. I’ve been trying to figure out how to say this without sounding like a jerk. But the lady was very large. And as I sat there I hoped upon hope that she didn’t have the seat next to me. I couldn’t see it, but I’m wondering if God was grinning down on me because of my selfish thoughts.

airplane

I had an aisle seat in a row of three. The kitchen for the flight attendants was directly across from my chair. I cordially greeted the man by the window and settled in for the flight with every intent to sleep the entire time. This was the last time I saw him.

I saw her enter the plane and make her way towards me. My eyes desperately scanned the rows behind and in front for any other empty seat. The place was packed. She looked at her ticket and the numbers above my head. Then smiled.

“Looks like we get to sit together!”

I forced a smile in return and stood. She raised my right armrest and plopped down into her chair…and half of mine.

You’ve got be kidding me! I again searched for any open seat on the aircraft but none was to be found. Only sympathetic eyes aimed my direction. I settled in. Prayers shotgunned upwards for patience and understanding.

She tried to make conversation. She’d visited friends in Alaska and now was coming home.

“This is the last time I’m ever going to fly. It’s just been way too difficult.”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

And yet, I knew she felt bad. There was no doubt she was more uncomfortable than I was. She had to ask the flight attendant for a seat belt extender so she could buckle up. My discomfort would only last for a few hours. She had to live with it. So I made up my mind to make the best of it.

My plan was still to sleep. There was no way I was leaning into her so awkwardly I hung my head the other direction in any way possible to find comfort. But every time I was at that point of falling into a deep sleep, I was butted in the head by an attendant backing out of the kitchen. The impatience began to creep in again.The place was dark. Most people enjoying the precious state of slumber. But not me.

Then I thought I was saved. The televisions lowered from the ceiling signalling the start of the in-flight movie. That would be two hours of this trip. I dug out my headphones until the realization hit me. My stomach sank, and I had to take a deep breath. You have to plug your headphones into the armrest. Mine was tucked securely behind the woman’s back. I’ve still only watched “Fly Away Home” without the sound.

I don’t know how long I’d been in the air. It felt like an eternity. I was continually fighting the tingling sensation in my backside from sitting on the edge of my chair. Finally in utter frustration, I dropped my head into my lap. Surprisingly, it was quite comfortable. But that lasted only for a few minutes.

Because that’s when she began rubbing my back.

My entire body tensed. My mind was racing. Do I ignore it or sit up and confront her? I was so tired so I just waited it out. She eventually stopped and I lay there for as long as I could. But like every position I’d tried, the comfort was replaced by cramps and soreness. So, against my will, I had to sit up.

Then she whispered to me. These are the exact words from our short conversation.

“Did you feel that?”

“Yeah.”

“That was me.”

“Yeah. I figured.”

The ride felt twice as long as it should have on my half of a seat. But to my elation, the wheels finally touched down on the tarmac. As soon as the seat belt light turned off, I jumped into the kitchen until it was my turn to leave. I figured the most loving thing I could say to her was nothing at all.

This wasn’t my finest moment. I don’t write this for you to learn by my example. Maybe God was testing me, and I’m not even sure if I passed. Maybe it just happened because life is like that.

I wrote it simply because it now makes me laugh.