I had the middle seat. Sandwiched between two complete strangers on a 14 hour flight to Tokyo is not my idea of a good time. But, it was cool. I figured I would make friends with the small Japanese man on my right and the guy to my left.
I took it upon myself to clear the air early on in the flight, I did this by offering up my assortment of sinus medication and some raisinettes. The raisinettes proved to be a successful catalyst for conversation, and I soon found out that the Japanese man could speak very little english and the guy to my left (Eric) was going on a mission trip to Indonesia. (a hard core mission trip, might I add. He and a few other men were trekking through jungle trying to find “peaceable men” to form relationships with.. woah!) I shared about my mission in Thailand, and then we fell into a comfortable silence.
Soon, the combination of Dramamine and sinus medication kicked in and I fell asleep.
Four hours later…
I woke up up to Eric holding his head in his hands and crying. I was shocked and a little unsure of what to do in the situation because I do not have much experience comforting crying men. I decided the best route to take was to ask God what to do. After a few minutes in prayer, I felt the urge to rub his back… yes, rub his back… not ask him what was up or give him an awkward pat on the shoulder, but to rub his back. As I did this he began to calm down a bit and open up to me about what he was feeling.
Before this trip, I had never been personally attacked by Satan. I kind of feel like I walked into this mission trip blind because I had little experience with spiritual warfare. The importance of the armor of God in protecting my mind from lies and darkness was foreign to me, so I experienced random attacks of irrational and crippling fear. Eric and I both had thoughts of inadequacy and thoughts that we were not strong enough to be God’s messengers. We thought about packing our bags and heading home. We felt weak and dejected, and not at all fit for proclaiming the name of Jesus to lost people.
Interesting that God sat me next to someone that was in the middle of what I was going through a few days earlier 🙂 I praise God that I was able to share how He got me through it!!
I told Eric to pray Ephesians 6 over himself every day and night.
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:14-18
I told Eric that Satan was trying so hard to attack him because God must have plans to use him in mighty ways in Indonesia. I told him to speak his thoughts aloud, because when a lie spoken into light, it is revealed for what it truly is: a lie. I told him to get his team to pray for him when he felt like this, because when I asked my team to pray for me, I found out that many of us were experiencing the same kinds of thoughts. We were able to comfort each other and it brought us closer together. I encouraged him and reminded him that God chose him for this mission, and he was obedient enough to follow!! I think that is so amazing, because honestly if God called meto spend a month in the jungles of Indonesia, I am not sure if I would obey!
After our talk Eric felt much better, and I was overjoyed that God used me to comfort him!
At the end of our flight, Eric and I prayed together. We prayed the armor of God over each other. We prayed for Indonesia and Thailand. We thanked God that we were able to comfort each other on this insanely long flight. Eric praised God for answering prayers… because at the beginning of the flight when he was overcome with weakness and fear, Eric confessed to his Heavenly Father that he longed for his family to rub his back and tell him everything would be ok. I thanked God for seating me next to him so that I could be the sister in Christ to do just that.