This post first appeared on Kineti and is authored by Judah Gabriel Himango, one of Tabernacle of David’s teachers.
My flight wasn’t until 5am, but I didn’t like the idea of sleeping an hour or two only to wake up and drive at 2am. So I resolved to drive to the airport early and try to sleep in the airport or on the plane.
I arrived to the airport around 1am and went to check my one piece of oversized luggage: my guitar case. But at this hour in the morning, no flight attendants were at the check-in counter. I saw several people sitting on a nearby bench and realized they were all waiting to check their luggage too.
I walked over there and sat down, trying in vain to get some sleep.
(I’m convinced modern airport benches are specially designed to prevent people from sleeping in them. They’re rock solid, no cushion, no head rest. First-world problem I know, but still! 😅)
Unable to sleep, I grabbed my luggage and went to the restroom and drinking fountain.
I returned to the bench with my luggage and guitar case in hand. That’s when a stranger sitting near the bench asks me,
“You playing music for us tonight?”
I laugh and we get talking about guitars. He tells me his name is Mike. He pulls out his phone and shows me pictures of his guitar collection. The guy has a dozen or so beautiful, expensive guitars. A guitar collector and music lover.
He asks if he can see my Gretch, so I take it out of the case.
“Mind if I play?”
I give it to him. (And, for a brief moment in the back of my mind, I thought, “Oh man, I hope this isn’t a crazy guy who’ll run off with my guitar…”)
He plays a blues tune. He’s clearly talented. He talks to me about his interests in blues and punk rock. Throws some names of bands that, to his amazement, I’ve never heard before.
He hands the guitar back to me and asks me to play something.
Mind you, this was all a little weird and out of my comfort zone. The people around us on the bench definitely raised some eyebrows!
He asks about that music I’m playing. I tell him I’m a follower of Jesus with a Jewish background. I play a lot of Jewish Christian music.
We get talking about God and religion.
“No, I don’t believe in God. I’ve read the Bible. A lot. I don’t believe it, man. I believe in people, not in God.”, he tells me.
I don’t argue. I just listen.
He tells me stories about his past. Some time ago, he was in church and someone told him dinosaurs never existed (?!) and that proved to him religion wasn’t for him. He gave me some examples of religious abuse. They had merit; there have been a lot of bad religious people.
After hearing Mike’s objections, I said,
“Mike, all those things you said may be true. But you know, it doesn’t change whether God is real or not.”, I told him.
He nodded a bit and we talked more about it. I told him there’s good evidence God exists, and evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead. I told him about the basic evidence for Jesus’ resurrection
He didn’t seem impressed.
The topic changed and I asked him why he’s travelling and where to.
“My son just dropped me off here at the airport tonight.”
“Oh cool. Spending some time with him over Father’s Day weekend then?”
“No man. My son doesn’t like me, Judah. He just dropped me off here.”
He goes on to tell me about his family trouble. His wife had left him. His kids resent him because he hasn’t been there for them. When his wife left, he was depressed, couldn’t focus. His employer ended up firing him.
He felt guilty about all this. “My kids hate me. My wife left me. I’m unemployed. I’m a monster.”
“No, man. You’re going through a hard time. Don’t tell yourself you’re a monster; don’t believe that lie.”
“I don’t mean to lay all this on you. It’s not your problem”, he tells me.
“So with all this, Mike, why are you flying?”
“Judah, I’m in a meatgrinder!”, he says and pauses.
“Everything is falling apart. I can’t take it anymore. I’m flying to my mom’s.”
He never mentioned suicide, but there was real distress in his voice.
We talked for another hour about family, life, and more.
It was around 3am, and finally a flight attendant approaches the counter to check us all in. People start getting up and heading to the counter.
Mike turns to me and says, “Man, we could’ve been sitting alone staring at our phones like everyone else. But we met and talked for hours instead.”
“Good meeting you, Judah.”
Mike reaches out to shake my hand.
I shake his hand and say, “So glad I met you, Mike! Can I pray for you, right now?”
He pauses. “Ah…ok.”
While still holding onto Mike’s hand in the middle of that airport, I pray out loud a short prayer. I ask God to help him make it through. To repair the broken relationship with his kids. To give Mike what he needs.
I open my eyes. Mike has tears in his.
He hugs me and says goodbye.
Readers, I’m convinced this was a God-orchestrated appointment. God used it to plant a seed of the Gospel in this man.
Pray for Mike, friends. I think the Lord wants him.
(Thank you, Lord, for divine appointments! Save Mike and bring your son back.)