Everyone Has a Story
God's Strange Request
By Gale Jones Murphy
Coming back from a music conference, I was waiting to catch my plane to Orlando. Because of a massive storm, we were delayed three hours.
So, while sitting there, I was watching people as they got on and off their planes, I'm a people watcher. I like to look at people and try to figure out who they are and what their story might be.
I see a family with small children. I guess they're coming to Florida to visit theme parks. I see an elderly couple, and I assume that they are retired and returning home, I see people with attaché cases, and I imagine they are on business trips.
Then I see one man. He doesn't look like me. He's an elderly Caucasian man wearing coveralls with a red plaid shirt, and he's wearing a cap with a rebel flag on the front.
Now, for some people, the rebel flag is a sign of heritage; but, for me, it was a sign of racism, and I prayed a quick prayer, "Oh, God, do not let me sit next to that man on the plane. And God was so good. He answered my prayer.
However, just before I got on that plane, God told me to do something very unusual after I learned of a change in the flight plan that would take us to Ft. Lauderdale. He said, "Reserve a car."
I argued, "But God I'm going home."
He said, "Reserve a rental car."
So, I'm obedient to God. If God tells me to do something, I do it. Well, I reserved the rental car, got on the plane, and bypassed the man with the rebel flag as I went to my seat.
When we got on the plane, an announcement reminded the passengers, "We're not going to Orlando because of the storm. "We're going to Fort Lauderdale. That's three hours away, and once you get there, we'll let you connect on another flight to Orlando."
It was nearly 10:30 p.m. when we landed. I went to the ticket agent who said, "I'm sorry, all the planes are gone for the night. The next flight out is at 8 in the morning. We have no flights, and we have no hotels. We're so sorry."
I smiled, because, remember, the last thing God told me to do was to reserve a rental car. So I'm happy. And I said, "Thank you, Jesus, I've got a rental car. I can drive to Orlando."
The next person in line behind me was the man with the rebel flag. He heard the same information, as the ticket agent said to him, "Sir, we have no more flights tonight." This man let out a stream of curse words that I had never heard before. He was so angry. He said, "You don't understand. I've got to get to Orlando before eight in the morning. You just don't understand."
I walked away with a smile on my face thinking "Thank you, God, for letting me have a car!" Suddenly, the smile faded. "No, you didn't God. No, I didn't hear you say that."
Yes, He did. You know what God told me to do, don't you? I turned around and I heard my mouth say, "Sir, would you like to ride with me to Orlando?"
He looked at me and said, "You would let me ride with you?"
"I'm just as surprised as you," I said, "but God told me to ask you to get in my car, so we're riding to Orlando."
And what a strange sight we were—this black woman and this white man. He's carrying my suitcases, walking five paces behind me. I'm looking like the Queen of England. We bypass everyone in the long reservation line and go to an empty line for those who had made reservations. They hand me the car keys.
I call my husband and say, "Honey, I'm driving home with a man I don't know. He has a rebel flag on his cap. I don't know his name, but God told me to pick him up."
William said, "Let's pray. I will be awake when you get home."
The story continued to unfold as we drove to Orlando. This man needed to meet me, because he had never met God. See, he was angry with God. His wife was dying of ovarian cancer, and he was on his way to visit his son in federal prison. That next morning was his son's birthday. If he was not at the prison when the gates opened, he wouldn't be allowed to get in. His daughter was strung out on crack cocaine. His grandson was autistic.
"If there is a God, He would make life better for me," the man said. "He doesn't exist. He doesn't love me."
"Yes, sir, God loves you, and I know He does, because He told me to pick you up in this car."
And all the way from Ft. Lauderdale to Orlando we talked about God, and that night, John accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.
That's what music ministry is about! It's not just about singing. It's about witnessing for God.
This excerpted article first appeared in the Summer 2008 issue of Florida Focus. Gale shared this story while speaking in Apopka, Florida. It is reprinted with permission. For further information on Gale's music ministry visit Gale Jones Murphy. All rights reserved © 2012 StoryHarvest.org.