Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Heavy set...DA

I’ve seen changes galore taking place in my life, my family’s life, the churches I’ve worked with, the countries I’ve served in and on and on it goes, but I guess it hit me that God was really doing a work in my life and attitude one time as I was returning home from a teaching trip to Kiev, Ukraine.

I got on the plane and went to my seat. Next to me there were two other guys sitting in a three seat aisle on the right side of the plane. 

As usual, the other two guys were as big if not bigger than me, and needless to say we were squished. The guy on my left spoke Russian but was trying to make conversation with me in the little bit of English that he knew.

Then a guy wearing a gigantic furry Russian hat, an extremely warm looking fur coat and carrying a bag full of vodka slid into the 5 seat center aisle of the plane, and proceeded to put his coat and hat in one seat and the bag of vodka in the other seat and then nestled in to his own seat to commence the 3 hour flight from Kiev to Berlin.

Well, the guy sitting next to me saw his opportunity for a more comfortable seat, and a more enjoyable experience so he got up and picked up the gentleman’s vodka placed it in his lap and sat down.

What happened next was absolutely amazing to me, as "Vodka guy" went off on his new seat mate. For the next 10 minutes or so, they yelled and yelled at each other in Russian, they pushed each other and flailed their arms, they were going at it, and neither one was backing down. I couldn’t understand a word of it but I understood exactly what it was all about.

Back and forth the struggle over the seat went, and Russian word after Russian word was being hurled by each man who felt entitled to that seat.

Then all of a sudden, vodka guy stopped and according to his body language, in Russian he seemed to ask my seat mate why he wanted to move in the first place.

The guy looked at me, pointed and said in perfect English “Heavy set”, to which the other man replied “DA!”, and picked up his vodka to let him sit down!

I couldn’t believe it…I just got slammed, put down, dissed or whatever you want to call it…in Russian, and you know what? It didn’t matter to me; in fact I found it kind of funny, hilarious even. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell the story, not just to my family, but to anyone God brought my way, in whatever form God had for me to share it.

As I get older, and mature in my walk with God everyday situations that He allows me to go through have morphed from things that used to set me off because of my immaturity or whatever to personal illustrations of How God is at work in my life, and how He can work in the life of the reader or listener as well.

My attitude is changing to “God, how can you use this situation to bless and encourage others?”

That’s a God thing by the way.

So I’m reminded again that change is not always easy, but if we’re open to God’s kind of change in our lives as an ongoing opportunity to not only sympathize but empathize with others shining the spotlight on the hero of the story…Jesus, then we can embrace even seemingly painful changes with a renewed sense of purpose, because God never wastes a hurt!

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