Resurrection affirmation – our God reigns
by Commissioner David Edwards –
Given the size of the Western Territory, my wife and I do a lot of air travel.
We spend a lot of time in airports. The sight of the Salvation Army uniform in an airport frequently leads to some interesting encounters and conversations with some equally interesting people.
Quite recently we met and were engaged in conversation by a young flight attendant. She was off duty and a passenger on the flight scheduled to depart from the same gate where we were to catch our flight out. Apparently she had just received word that her mother was seriously ill. She was therefore on her way home.
This information came out in the course of the conversation when I inquired about the purpose of her trip, noting that she was dressed for duty, yet not on duty. It was at that point in the conversation that her voice betrayed a measure of painful emotion.
What does one say to a complete stranger in such situations “I’m sorry”?
If I remember correctly, that is exactly what I said and she thanked me. If I were to be honest, I would admit that my reaction was partly one of genuine courtesy and partly out of sympathy for the pain and anxiety I suspect that she was feeling at the time. I could identify with that. I have been there myself. I cannot claim, however, that my reaction went beyond courtesy and sympathy to that feeling of sorrow for the loss that she was anticipating.
That was not the end of our encounter. Shortly after she revealed this information to me, she was approached by a Korean gentleman seeking her help for his aged parents who were going on the same flight with her. Seeing her in uniform, he thought that she was the attendant on the flight due to depart. His parents spoke no English and he was a bit concerned. He wanted to enroll her assistance on their behalf.
Despite not being on duty and having her own problems in mind, she immediately responded to his request. She spent the remaining minutes ensuring that he got the assistance he needed for his parents and then boarded the flight with them as she had promised to sit nearby on board in order to help if necessary. I was quite impressed.
Before boarding she came back to collect her things that she had left near us. I leaned over and said quietly in her hearing, “Whatever happens, it is going to be all right.” She seemed to relax, smiled and proceeded to board her flight. I believe that she knew, even without my mentioning it, that I was referring to the information she had shared with me about her mother.
My action was quite spontaneous. I am not sure why I did it. Perhaps I wanted to commend her for going out of her way to help at a time when she too needed someone to help. As I said, I was quite impressed.
Perhaps I wanted to bring an appropriate closure to our conversation that was interrupted by this man seeking her help. Perhaps I felt that my immediate response of “I’m sorry” was not sufficient. Perhaps I wanted to share something of my own faith with her. The thing about it is that I did not know her; neither did I know how seriously ill her mother was other than the fact that she had just experienced a heart attack.
On reflection I rather suspect that all three of these reasons may have influenced my spontaneous comment. Of the three, however, I would like to believe that it was my faith that strongly influenced the comment of confident assurance that I shared with this young woman- “Whatever happens, it is going to be all right.”
Such a statement is empty, meaningless and without substance if it is not based on faith. Worst! Even hypocritical and possibly lacking in kindness if it is said simply to comfort the bereaved but without any real reason for believing that it would necessarily prove true. I, however, have reason for believing this statement to be true.
For me faith does not come easily. I am inclined to be pragmatic and practical. I am just as prone as anyone else to stress, worry and anxiety. When it comes to making decisions, I like to “deal with the facts.” My motto has always been “Do it only if it makes sense.”
But I believe firmly in a God whose power is sovereign. He has a habit of making complete nonsense of our rational conclusions. A perfect example of this is in the resurrection to life of his Son, Jesus Christ. They just could not believe it. Both those who tried to put an end to him and his influence, as well as those who loved and followed him, failed to reckon with the sovereign power of the God who reigns. Yes, I believe “Whatever happens, it is going to be all right.” God will always have the last word.