Friday, November 24, 2006

The Good Cry

Luke 7:38 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

Having family in England, I fly home frequently to visit. I always board the plane wondering who will share that cramped space with me for the next seven hours. There are no rules of etiquette to govern relationships with the people you elbow over meals or climb over to get to the washroom. It always seems that we are thrust into a sudden relationship that is somewhat like a blind date. It has the potential for a pleasant few hours spent together--or it could go badly wrong!

I've had some interesting conversations on plane journeys and made some friends who continue to stay in touch. I was reminded of one such connection this week.

It was several hours into the flight before we spoke. I think he had returned from stretching his legs and as he settled his large, long frame into the impossibly tight confines of the seat next to me, he broke our comfortable, mutual silence by opening up in conversation.

I learned that he was a Jamaican ex police officer, from Birmingham, not far from my old home in England. We were traveling in the fall of 2002, and the topic of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th 2001 came up. He told me he had an uncle who worked in the World Trade Centre. He was one of the many people whose life was saved by the fact that he was late getting to work the morning of the attack. We marveled at the seemingly insignificant moments in time that made the difference between life and death.

As he continued to talk, I heard an old, old story, the story I love to hear more than any other; the story of a soul coming to faith in Christ. He was new to faith--no more than one year old. It had been about a year ago that he had come to Canada to visit his sister, a Christian. He had high walls around his heart and soul and had no interest in having anything to do with God, and he made that clear to her when she gently invited him to join them at church.

But at the airport, waiting to go home to England, something happened. He suddenly and inexplicably felt the Presence of God and he knew that he was calling his name. He boarded the plane and this big man said he began to cry. He couldn't stop. He said he had to cover his face with his coat so no one could see, and he cried all the way home.

I understood that cry. It's happened to me a couple of times. It's the cry that happens when the Holy Spirit is washing a person's soul clean of junk. It's a good cry; a really good cry.

It was interesting that I would find an old letter yesterday, in which I wrote to my dad about this man--this week when the Holy Spirit has been on my mind.

2 Timothy 1:4 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.

1 comment:

Johnny Cash said...

Praise God! It lifts my spirit to know that the Holy Spirit is still alive and well, doing His thing to bring souls to the Father. As the church age comes to a close, expect to see a lot more of these stories happen. I believe we are that close. JC