Little did I know that as I sent Alex to Africa, God was sending me a man from Bulgaria. This week I had a divine appointment at the airport that I knew nothing about. There are no coincidences in my Master's timetable. The fact that it took Alex x-number of minutes to check three heavy suitcases bound for Uganda, x-number of minutes to pray over him one last time, x-number of minutes to watch him snake through the security line is not lost on me. It took x-number of seconds to wait for the elevator back downstairs where Beth, Luke and I would catch the bus back to remote parking. It took x-number of seconds to wait for the sliding glass doors to part and x-number of seconds to file into the departing bus. As we sat in the very front of the bus facing the inner aisle, a seemly nondescript man climbed aboard and sat down across from me. Later as he shook my hand, I realized how only God could orchestrate such a meeting, because to put the man across from me also depended on the man's schedule to take x-number of minutes to exit his plane, x-number of minutes to claim his luggage, x-number of minutes to find the nearest exit which happened to put us in seats facing each other on the same bus at precisely the same time.
Let me tell you that God cares about the lost with a passion. It all started when this man asked Luke if he spoke English. Well, when you really don't, it is hard to reply. Luke looked confused. I chimed in, "No, he doesn't understand very much. He has only been in the US for three months." Then the floodgates of common experience, unleashed the lips of the man who also immigrated to America. He told me he was from Bulgaria and asked me if I knew where it was. I told him that I had studied Eastern European politics in college, and my brother had taken trips to his neighbor Romania. The man was surprised that I was more educated than many Americans about his part of the world. We talked about Communism, and he told me how people had eaten back then. We talked about learning a language as difficult as Hungarian, Russian or Estonian. He told me an enchanting Bulgarian proverb his father use to tell him, "You can't fatten a pig in two days." He told me that meat was so expensive that they rarely had it. When Christmas festivities began, they would butcher their pig, but it had to be diligently fattened through the year rather than just the two days before you feasted. He told me language learning was like that. Mr. Bulgaria liked to talk, and I liked asking questions. Then the man wanted to know more about my major and asked me why there is so much fighting in the world. I told him that it was because the human heart is never satisfied, and wants what it doesn't have and tries to take what someone else has. Oh, the uproar. He defied my statement in saying that the majority of humans are innately good.
Well, it seemed pretty clear that I needed to introduce Mr. Bulgaria to his "first baddie", myself. He was appalled when I admitted, "I am a bad person." I then went on to tell him about Jesus dying on the cross for my badness and that I was so grateful that Jesus knew my inner badness and still chose to die for me. I didn't do anything to deserve that love. He reproached me as a man born in '48 could and quite ironically huffed, "It is a SIN to call yourself bad. Who told you that you were bad?" I told him that Jesus came to help me choose good, but on my own I was bad to the bone. This man of years with silver hair was growing more uncomfortable that this sweet-looking young lady who brought children from around the world into her home could consider herself bad. I was educated and should have known better. The crazy thing that day is where I picked up that bus meant we had to travel through many terminals before we reached the remote parking. God gave me time to share the good news and make a fellow traveler on this earth hopefully question some deep-seated beliefs that we can work our way to heaven. I hope my friend, the Bulgarian, will become the Bad Person, and by personal confession know the wondrous exchange which happened on the cross. I pray that as we waved goodbye in the parking lot, he will come to realize the divine appointment God made for him that day was because Christ made himself sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. Alleluia!
1 day ago