Banquets in the Desert

By: Perry Benson

Psalm 78:19

Can God make a banquet in the desert?


It was after midnight at the airport as my first officer and I closed up the airliner. I could see one of our flight attendants, Angela, standing apart from the others. Earlier that day, she had told me her husband had suffered a heart attack. She feared he would start smoking again in her absence. My suggestion that she just trust him didn’t seem to reassure her.

Until a few weeks prior, work had been a routine for me: exchanging names with the flight crew and giving a quick summary of weather and flight time. I had had a long and successful career, centered on being a competent pilot and creative manager of resources. But as the ever-worsening working conditions of the industry made that more difficult, I was forced to decide whether my career was all that God was calling me to. In prayer, I discovered a calling that added a whole new purpose to my job: to respect, support and love everyone I encountered, to be open to their stories and to discover with them how God loves us in all circumstances. Despair about my career became anticipation. What did God have in mind for me? Would this new calling bear fruit?

As I approached Angela that night, it was a relief to hear that she was open to prayer. I acknowledged the Lord’s power and asked him to show us, “Where is your hand in all this?” A light flashed in Angela’s eyes and her hands shot up to heaven. Then, she was crying, saying “Alleluia”, “Thank you, Jesus,” and quoting Isaiah 55: My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways… the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.

After praying, I asked Angela what had happened. She explained that she was seeing the answer to years of prayer that her husband be freed from smoking. It had not happened in the way she had expected, but in God’s way. We enjoyed a wonderful moment of quiet gratitude and release from worry.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. Knowing I would see Angela in the morning, I pondered what words of wisdom I could leave with her — but came up dry. When I admitted this to her the next day, she smiled and said, “That’s OK, I already got the message!”

On that night two Christians prayed together. They sought God’s will. For Angela, fears were relieved and joy rediscovered. For me, a new calling was affirmed, and with that affirmation came the faith and humility needed to continue that calling. Both of us gained a clearer vision of how God builds his kingdom on earth.


TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Have you ever encountered a roadblock in your career that lead you to a new way of thinking about or doing things? Where did you see God’s hand in this?