The Campus Bridge

An Appointment with Jane


Karen Knight
Staff Member - African Bible UniversityKaren Knight
As I entered my window seat, I climbed over a sixty-something British woman resting in the middle seat. She was busily reading her novel. I smiled, and she returned a proper flash of a grin. Pulling out this journal, I resolved to use the hours ahead on my international journey to write. Unsure of what would come, I focused for a while on the page in front of me.

After the appropriate settling in time, Jane, the woman God had placed beside me on the plane, and I began to exchange the classic information. A retired teacher, a professor's wife; living in London, staying in Kampala; grandmother; children in Uganda, children in the US; her children are serving as doctors, we are teaching at a Christian University.

Gradually, we hit the hot topics of security and poverty in Africa. She had questions on which she hoped I could shed some light. They turned to a far deeper nature than I had imagined. Coming from her daughter and son-in-law's home and their boldly Christian lifestyle, she needed answers to questions she was unwilling to ask of them. Hence, our four-hour conversation about God began.
Punched with pleasantries, she broached hard topic after hard topic. I answered the best I was able and asked about her life in between, never asking anything too personal. She must have felt safe. At the root of her query was whether the god of the universe could be personal.

Relating a recent scenario, she said that she had been experiencing pain in her elbow. Her daughter had asked her how her elbow has been feeling. She reported that it felt much better. Her daughter then told her that her grandson, harry, had been praying for it. It was ridiculous in her mind, though she thanked harry, to believe that God cared about her elbow and at the same time allowed the beheading of children. I shocked her when I responded that I believed God was present and active in the beheading as well as in the elbow trauma. Jane believed in a vindictive God. For her to hear something about God's nature that was not simply loving in the terms that we usually understand as loving seemed refreshing. We agreed that God is, indeed, grander, deeper, and higher than we are able to comprehend. Because, and only because, he is such, can he possibly attend to her elbow.

At this point I had earned the privilege to tell her that I believed God isn't focused on the health of one's elbow, but that the physical healings and signs we may experience are used by God to get our attention; that Jesus used those to open people's ears to the more important, spiritual message he brought. You do not need a pain-free elbow, but you do need peace with God. He will use different means to call people to himself.

The conversation climaxed with her confessing that the seat she was assigned to was two seats forward. Two friends wished to sit together, and she agreed to move back to this seat. God was beckoning her soul and, no doubt, using the prayers of her children.



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