Have you ever had one of those days that left an imprint on your soul as though God, Himself, was the author? I was traveling back from an event where I was appearing before 20,000 people hungry for success. After my performance, I was rushed straight from the stage to a limo and directly to the airport to catch the last flight out. Fortunately, I only had a carry-on so the check in process would be easy.
I barely made my flight. As I sat in my seat I thought,”Boy would it have been nice to change out of these stage clothes and into the comfortable sweat suit that’s in my bag.” My plan was to get to Chicago where I would have an hour layover and change in the bathroom. When I landed in Chicago I went directly to my connecting gate to check in. That is when it happened:
People were moving out of the way and acting like she was strapped to a bomb. Their faces of horror and shame were obvious. She just kept running down the terminal getting closer and closer till all of a sudden she dropped on her knees only a few feet in front of me, threw her hands in the air as if to surrender, and cried out, “Oh God, help me!”
Without a moment’s hesitation, I grabbed her in my arms and covered her body with mine. At that very second, a miraculous thing happened. As I held her in my arms, everybody else in the airport terminal seemed to disappear. It was as though we were alone. I whispered in her ear, “It’s ok. God loves you and has allowed me to be here so I can help you.”
Dressed in a rhinestone St. John suit and four inch heals, I probably looked a bit crazy myself.
I continued to hold her in my arms as we walked to the bathroom. A young boy along the way threw me his shirt to put over her body. All other onlookers just gawked and whispered.
Once in the bathroom, she began to weep in my arms like a baby. She cried, “I am a bad woman. I have sinned.” As she continued to beg for forgiveness, I began to share with her the magnitude of God’s love. She assured me she was too big of a sinner to deserve access to God’s mercy.
She didn’t know it, but she had run naked into the arms of God (or at least one of His vessels here on earth). Not that I was God, but that He had used my voice, my arms and my body to cover her and give her a message of love, hope, and forgiveness that day.
As you can imagine, I was thinking to myself, “So exactly what happened to her clothes? Last I checked, those security guards don’t let you into an airport naked.” She explained that she was grieving the loss of multiple deaths in her family within a two week period and she was on the flight headed to her daughter’s wedding. Doctor’s had her on anti-depressants which she had mixed with alcohol and other drugs. Needless to say, her drug reaction, partnered with a nervous breakdown, sent her over the edge.
Shame filled her mind as she suddenly realized what she had just done. She had stripped off her clothes, stuffed them down a toilet, threw her shoes in a trash can, and dumped her purse in another toilet. She then proceeded to run naked down the airport in front of her husband and children, not to mention thousands of onlookers.
Bad day? You betcha! The interesting thing to me was that, during the process of her trauma, not one person stopped to help her. Not one of the 10 ladies in the bathroom that watched her strip naked even said a word. They didn’t reach out to help. They didn’t even call the police. They just gawked in judgment and fear.
That day, I learned a lot about myself, about God’s forgiveness, and about human nature.
1. About myself: Personally, I realized that God allowed her to drop at my feet because He knew I would be willing and unafraid to reach out to her and give her hope, help, and healing. By counseling her and setting her up with the proper professional help in her city, that woman went on to experience restoration, mental healing, and spiritual transformation. It was a joy to know that I could be used by God to be His hands, voice, and arms that day. You see, God is not looking for perfect vessels. He’s just looking for willing vessels who will allow Him to use their life to reach out to others.
2. About God’s Forgiveness: I learned that God is such a loving God that He will do anything to get our attention and have us fall on our knees for forgiveness. God watched as that woman took those drugs and drank the alcohol. He knew of her pain and sympathized with her sorrow. He also devised a plan for her salvation and healing. He loved her so much that although it took complete breakdown, He got her attention. He walked her right into a plan for her complete restoration, peace, and healing.
3. About Human Nature: I learned that many people would rather gossip than help, offer insults instead of aid, and complain instead of comply with God’s wishes to be a vessel of hope to those in need. As I considered how many people chose NOT to help that day, I humbly thanked God for giving me the courage to be different. As humans, it is easy to be apathetic towards those in need or even those different than us. Lord, let us deny our flesh and be more like you!
When I finally made my way back to the gate for my departure, over 100 people stared at me till a man finally said, “Wow! That was incredible! Does that happen to you often? What possessed you to help her like that? Was she crazy or what?”
Knowing it was, yet, another opportunity to share God’s love, I simply said, ” “Let’s face it, we’ve all had bad days where we, too, felt like stripping naked and screaming out to God for help. The only difference is that she had the guts to follow through with it!.”
They laughed and we boarded our plane. I truly believe with all my heart that, for a few moments in time, God allowed me to feel His unconditional love pour from my heart and into that woman. It was beautiful example of God using the ordinary to do His extraordinary work on earth. I am honored to be at His service!