The Underground Railroad and Freedom in Christ

I wasn’t willing and I knew it. I kept my window seat as our new traveling companion sat down in the aisle seat next to my husband. She smiled warmly when we introduced ourselves and several times later during the three-hour flight. I had some things to do, but if I had been open to God’s leading, I would’ve offered her the window seat right away when she arrived so I could then sit next to her, chat, and find out her interest in spiritual things. I knew God was speaking to me in my heart and mind and yet I didn’t follow His leading.

A week later, we were returning home on a 757 and I was sitting by the window again. As usual, I preferred to do some things during the flight, but at the same time I didn’t want to repeat what happened on the previous flight. We watched as dozens of travelers walked past us and the third seat remained empty. More than twenty minutes later, Sananda arrived. We introduced ourselves, but I stayed in my seat, with my husband sitting between Sananda and myself. Shortly after we were in the air, both Sananda and my husband got up, so God graciously gave me another opportunity. I knew He forgave me for my self-centeredness and for my lack of love for someone created in His image, but I didn’t want to disobey Him again.

When Sananda came back to her seat, I offered, “Would you like the window seat?”

Sananda broke into a huge smile of delight. “Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “I had the window seat on the flight up.”

After Sananda settled in, we offered her some food, which she gratefully accepted. She’d been detained from her connection and hadn’t been able to buy a dinner in the airport.

Normally, I keep tracts with me, but because of the space limitations, all my tracts were in my carry-on bag in the overhead bin, so I knew I would need to trust God to do things differently. I had some needlework with me, making quilt patterns on plastic canvas, so I pulled them out to work on them. I could tell Sananda was watching what I was doing.

I already knew Sanada had been visiting family in Canada and was originally from Guyana, so I asked her if she knew about the history of quilts in the underground railroad. I explained how the different quilt patterns contained hidden messages for slaves escaping to Canada.

I had extra supplies, so I taught her how to do plastic canvas needlepoint. She practiced stitching while we talked about her job and her three sons. The conversation wasn’t changing to spiritual topics and we were approaching our destination.

“Are you interested in spiritual things, Sananda?” I finally asked.

She already knew I am a missionary, so she said she knew some Christians, and that she was Hindu. “My sisters are Christians. In our culture, you take the religion of your husband.”

“So, your husband is Hindu?”

“Yes, we come from the same village in Guyana.”

My heart went out to her that she would be discouraged from making her own personal choice and that she could strain her relationship with her husband if she considered Jesus Christ.

By the end of the flight Sananda considered me her friend and wanted to stay in touch. We exchanged emails and I promised I would look for her on Facebook.

My husband pulled my carry-on bag down for me and I pulled out a Passage tract to give her. I opened the booklet and read the first sentence to her. “In pre-Civil War America, thousands of African Americans escaped to freedom by way of the underground railroad, a secret network of relationships and safe houses.” I handed the tract to her and encouraged her to write me if she has any questions about Christianity.

I hope I learned my lesson as “a slave of Christ” to freely and joyfully allow God to dictate how I should spend my time, especially when I am around others. What He asks of me is better than what I might choose. For me, I was in bondage, selfishly clinging to “my time” as we flew north even to an area that was significant during the time of the underground railroad. What a difference to know freedom in Christ as I obeyed Him on our flight home.

“Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.”
~ Romans 6: 15 – 16 NLT

Reposted from 10/2010 © Sus Schmitt

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