I’ve never really doubted it. But, a recent event has served to confirm my conviction. I enthusiastically affirm: Yes, God answers prayers…
While waiting to board a flight from Indianapolis to Houston, my attention was drawn to the young African American woman seated in a wheelchair a few feet away. She was wrestling with a very active young child. I guessed him to be about a year old.
She motioned to the attendant standing behind her, who bent over to hear what she was saying. They soon began rearranging things so that she could stand up. With her little boy held tightly against her and his beautiful big eyes looking out over her right shoulder, she made her way to the women’s restroom nearby.
This was no easy undertaking. She dragged her left leg along as though it did not work at all. I wondered what could be the cause of such a malady. A few moments later she emerged from the restroom holding her baby close. She was having such a hard time. The baby was squirming. She was grimacing with each step. The attendant wheeled the chair to her quickly. The young mother accepted her assistance and took a seat. Her child seemed a bit more settled. Still, I thought this could be a long flight for them and those sitting nearby.
So, I prayed for her. I asked the Lord to help her have patience. I asked for that little one to do well on the flight. I also prayed that she would be seated next to someone who wouldn’t be a grouch — someone also willing help to her.
The agent working the flight started the boarding process. The attendant pushed the young lady and her baby to the gate, where the agent checked her in. He took over from there. Off she went to get situated for the flight. After Group 1 was boarded, the agent returned to the desk and announced over the public address system for passenger Williams to please come to the desk. Since I already had my boarding pass and seat assignment in hand, I looked to see if anyone else responded. No one did. So, I decided that he must be calling for me. This seemed odd, since I checked in online…the day before.
I stepped up to the desk and inquired, “You paged passenger Williams?”
The agent smiled and responded, “Yes, Sir. I did.” He then handed me a new paper boarding pass and said, “I was able to get you a better seat.”
I thanked him and returned to my seat, where I waited for Group 3 to be called to board. Within a couple of minutes I was on my way down the ramp looking for seat 7E. Once on board, I was astounded to see seated in seat 7F the young lady I had seen in the waiting area — the young woman for whom I had prayed.
She smiled at me and shifted in her seat as I took mine next to her. Her little boy was squirming in her lap. He seemed to be gradually getting more-and-more worked up. I made faces at him and a few of those goofy sounds that for some reason seem to fascinate small children. His mother looked at me with an anxious expression on her face. I asked her the little one’s name. She said, “ It is Caden.” So, I introduced myself to Caden and his mother. She smiled.
Caden reached for me and I held his hand. At that moment the pre-flight announcements started. Caden was a bit startled. He jerked his hand out of mine and buried his face in his mother’s chest. The next thing I know he was patting my arm. I made silly noises and he laughed. His mother relaxed. We rolled away from the gate. We were in the air and Houston-bound before long.
It didn’t take long until little Caden started getting really fidgety. I reached for my iPad and swiped through the apps until I came to the group I have labeled “Kids Stuff.” I wondered if the Mickey Mouse Road Rally would work without an Internet connection. I tapped it and was glad to discover it did.
There wasn’t any question about whether or not little Caden is a fan of Mickey Mouse. His face lit up and he started rocking back-and-forth in his mother’s lap. Even though he really couldn’t interact with Mickey, he was totally fixated on him.
The man sitting next to me in 7D said, “You seem to have come prepared.”
I responded, “That’s what having grandkids will do for you.”
At that time little Caden reached out and swiped the screen so Mickey went away. So, we had to fix that!
After a few minutes of this, he began to get fussy again. His mother said that she thought he might be hungry. She shifted in her seat the best she could for privacy. She then threw a baby blanket over her shoulder and Caden was able to nurse.
Not too long after that he was sleeping. His mother was sleeping. And, evidently, I dozed off too. The next thing I remember she was exiting the row with little Caden pressed against her chest. His big brown eyes were peering over her shoulder at me. She was on her way to the first class lavatory to change his diaper.
A few minutes later she returned. After quite an ordeal she was able to get situated in her seat with the seat belt snuggly in place. Shortly thereafter, the pilot announced that we were beginning our decent into Houston.
I took this moment to ask my travel neighbor if this was her final destination or if she was traveling further. She told me that she was headed for Los Angeles. I told her I didn’t mean to pry, but wondered if she had family meeting her there. She said she did. I was glad to hear this.
I then asked her if anyone had patted her on the back lately. She looked at me with the same wide-eyed expression I had seen on Caden’s face and said, “No. They haven’t. Why?”
I then stated that in my opinion she needed a pat on the back. I reached across and patted her on the shoulder a few times and said, “It seems as though you are doing a great job with this little boy! I’m not sure of the source of your physical challenges, but you seem to be doing quite well in spite of them.”
She then shifted Caden to her right knee so her left hand would be free. She grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight. At the same time she rested her head on my shoulder and said softly, “Oh, thank you so very much! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You don’t have any idea how badly I needed to hear that. I think God must have sent you to me today.”
I smiled and said, “I think you’re right, dear. I think you are right.”
We then went on to talk about what she called her lame leg. She explained that it was still numb from the epidural administered during the birth of little Caden, which was ten months ago. She then said, “They are still trying to figure out what’s causing this. I’m scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to see if anything has changed in the past few weeks. They are afraid they might have nicked a nerve, though.”
I wish I could have healed her right then and there. If I could have I would have. I felt so helpless. I gave her one of my business cards and wrote my personal email on it. I told her I would be praying for her. I also told her to contact me if there was anything I could do for her. I told her I knew people in LA who would be willing to help her too. All of this just seemed so inadequate, though. I was wishing I could say or do more.
Now, upon reflection, my thinking about this situation has changed. I’m not hearing voices or anything, but I do have a strong sense of God saying to me loudly and clearly, “Bill, I’ve got this. You did what I needed you to do between Indianapolis and Houston. Now, just trust me. I’ve got this.”
I don’t even know Caden’s mother’s name. But, God does. I’m glad he used me in a small way to make a momentary difference in her life. I’m praying for her now. I also believe that God has used this to remind me of the importance of being available to Him for His purposes. I have been reminded once again how very much God cares for all and how eager He is for each of us to make ourselves available to Him. So, I am praying that God will continue to give me opportunities to have a small part in His unfolding plan, because…
Yes! God does answer prayers!!
© Bill Williams (08/21/2016)