It was 5:30 a.m. I got to the gate and the TSA agent was not in a good mood. I tried to be agreeable and friendly. I greeted her with a smile. It didn't matter. She didn't look at me. Her responses were abrupt. The look of scorn on her face gave me pause. "Next," she said.
I know they have a serious job to do. That interaction sent my mood on a downward spiral. It was not what I needed as I began my trip to visit my dad in Kentucky. As it so happened, that all changed a few minutes later. My bag got selected to receive a little extra attention.
I hate it when they ask you to step aside so they can go through your bag. Oddly enough it turned out to be a good experience. The agent was very polite. As he opened the pockets of my computer bag he came to a small leather bound book and asked, "What's this?"
I laughed and said, "That's my Bible. Some people consider it a dangerous weapon." He looked at me and smiled. "Not me. I think everyone should travel with one." Then he sent me on my way and wished me safe travels. I couldn't help but smile as I walked away.
I thought about that encounter as I walked to my boarding area. I was dealing with a lot lately. In that moment I felt like God had given me a sign. Every once in a while something happens out of the ordinary. It comes as an affirmation that everything is going to be fine.
A lot of us keep hoping and wishing that God would speak to us. We have this idea that it will happen with a booming voice from heaven like at the baptism of Jesus where God said, "this is my beloved son!" I think that's why so many give up on hearing from God.
The truth is that God is more apt to speak to us through the still small voice that Elijah heard when he was hiding in a cave in the wilderness. God can do thunderstorms and booming voices, but in time of trouble he often comes to us quietly, in unexpected ways.
A phone call from a friend, an unexpected gift, a smile from a stranger are ways that God gives us a wink and a nod and a gentle reminder that he sees our struggles and is there to lean on. So if you are having a bad day, look up and then look around. God is not far away.
God bless! See you in church.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly.