"Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples." Matthew 28:19a
You see, Susan's a flight attendant and for years felt guilty about always being gone and not being able to serve "at church." One day, she told me about some of her experiences with passengers and fellow crew members. I asked her if she would share her story on a Sunday. And she did. She shared about how Jesus was using her on her travels. Often while traveling overseas, she would find herself strapped in next to someone who would pour their heart out to her - and she would be able to comfort them with the "comfort she herself had received"1 - sharing encouragement, wisdom and hope. "Great job, Susan!"
But the story doesn't stop there
Recently, Susan contacted me with another story - following my post on "Jesus Knows What You Are Going Through." It happened in Holland; Susan gets to be there more than I do because Amsterdam is one of her routes. This time she walked in "De Vierdaagse" - a four-day, 100-mile march held annually. This was the 94th Four Days Marches. Susan said that it was the most incredible experience she'd ever had. What she didn't know is that my dad used to walk this many years ago in the late 1940s. So it was very cool to hear that she participated.
The walk impacted Susan!"What an incredible experience!", Susan wrote me. "I learned so much about myself and the strength and spirit of humanity. Everyday, when we would be struggling through the last couple of miles, we would enter the streets of Nijmegen and thousands of people would be waiting to cheer us on yelling 'Success! Success! Success!'"
So what's the big deal? Well, Susan compared it to life on earth and working toward heaven. She wrote, "It made me think that this is what it is like working toward our goal of heaven. We are tired, and hurting, but there are thousands of people just cheering us on through those last painful miles to reach our 'Home.'"
Susan said she had to fight off tears often. People would be along the route with signs that said 'You never walk alone.' At other times, the walkers would walk through towns and all of the nursing home people would be sitting in wheelchairs. On the last day, on the last stretch, they walked by hospital patients who were in their beds. Some with IVs hooked to them. They were right on the side of the road under a tent. One soldier had stopped by the patients and was talking to a young teenage boy. Those experience would bring on the tears for Susan and her friend threatened her not to cry - because they'd both be crying and she wanted to finish the walk.
Telling her story
And to top it all off, Susan was on Dutch national TV. They asked her, "Why did you come all the way over from America?" Well, Susan turned a significant age and she wanted an incredible experience. God gave it to her. I'm sure Susan will be sharing about this life-changing adventure and how there are so many lessons that compare to our life when we follow Jesus with passengers and crew alike on her future travels.
Susan, you encouraged me. The road of faith is a long road. It's tough. But there are people who cheer us on all along the route and our reward is, well...incredible!
Thanks Susan, for sharing your story. For walking the Vierdaagse. For reminding me of my dad who I miss very much. And for cheering us on as we follow Jesus.
1. 2 Corinthians 1:4