I recently attended the Evangelical Press Association’s yearly conference. I hadn’t been in a few years. It reminded me that my very first EPA conference inspired me to begin writing. Until that point, I’d only written for my job; never for pleasure. But a class taught by Mark Galli (editor of Christianity Today) inspired me to begin writing for fun. Lo and behold, about 6 years later, my just-for-fun writing led me to a book deal. So, thanks Mark! And thanks EPA! This is the first piece I wrote after that EPA conference. In fact, I wrote it on the plane ride home. It’s funny to see how my writing has evolved since this first article. Enjoy.
I hate it when God decides to use me at an inconvenient and inopportune moment. Doesn’t He know that sometimes I’m not in the mood to be a servant? Apparently not. Someone once said, “God offers the greatest opportunities at the most inconvenient moments.” That’s way too stinkin’ true.
This week I had the opportunity to attend a conference in Colorado. I was excited. Not only was it my first editorial conference, but it was also my first trip to Colorado Springs.
I showed up to the airport right on time, bags in hand, but the airport staff did not mirror my enthusiasm. Several flights had been cancelled through the morning and things were obviously hectic. My day was not going to be pleasant. I couldn’t fly into Colorado Springs until the next morning, but they were able to reroute me through Denver late that night, where I could then take a cab over to Colorado Springs (a 2 hour drive). I would miss the entire opening session of my conference, but at least I would arrive the same day.
Once finally getting through security (who checked me so thoroughly they had me questioning whether or not I was actually associated with Al Qaeda) I made my flight and was off. I caught a connecting flight and, after 10 exhausting hours, landed in Denver and began looking for a cab.
I walked to the first few and they were all spoken for, then one gentleman popped his head through a window and, in a thick accent, asked if I needed a ride. I informed him of my destination two hours away, and he gladly accepted. Ah, the end was finally in sight, and I was looking forward to resting in the backseat for the next two hours.
My driver, Abdu (whose actual name was 11 letters long and completely incomprehensible) was from the Middle East. I noticed some Arabic writing hanging from his mirror, so I inquired. It was a quote from the Koran. He was a devout Muslim. He quickly found out that I was a Christian, and I quickly found out that, during this final leg of my trip, rest would not be an option.
Right before picking me up, Abdu had been reading (apparently while driving) an Arabic article comparing Jesus and Mohammed. He knew little of Christianity, but was curious. For two hours we exchanged information and I had the divine opportunity to explain Jesus to him. The whole idea of God giving His life for us was totally foreign to Abdu. I reluctantly thanked the Lord for allowing me to share, even though I hadn’t felt like sharing.
Abdu wasn’t converted to Christianity, but a seed was undoubtedly planted in his life. I wasn’t in any sort of mood to be open to the Spirit that evening, but God didn’t seem to care. He decided to use me anyway, despite my deep objections. I wish God would have simply let me sit in the back seat of that taxi sulking in the sorrow of my long and aggravating day, but apparently He wasn’t concerned with my momentary inconvenience.
He had bigger concerns.