I was in the Seattle airport, awaiting a flight to visit my mom and dad. As I walked by my gate, I noticed a young man sitting on the floor, back against a post reading what appeared to be a Bible. I felt the Spirit lead, so I asked him if he was reading the Bible, and he nodded in the affirmative. “What’s your name?” I asked. “Natania” he replied with a very thick accent and broken English. After a few attempts to confirm his name, I asked him if I could sit down with him. He was from Ethiopia, and you’ll never guess what passage he was reading…Esaias (also known as “Isaiah”). So to recap, I felt the Spirit lead me to talk to an Ethiopian reading in Isaiah…sound familiar (Acts 8:26-40)?
Natania (meaning: “gift of God”) had been saved for 5 years. He was saved and baptized in a river in Ethiopia, then came to the United States with his brother. We began to share about the Gospel, and how it is a fire burning in our bosom. Natania felt the Lord call him to share the Gospel, but also felt that the Spirit was preparing him for this journey. He said “I wait on Spirit of God to tell me when. While I wait, I pray, I read, I study.” He went on to tell me how ordinary he was—how he could do nothing except for the Lord. “God did not give me [to be] a doctor, or engineer, I am plain.” I went on to remind him that God often chose those who were “small” to do mighty things for the Lord. I talked about Moses, David, Matthew, Peter, and how the Lord chose them and used them mightily. God did this to “confound” the wise, and to ensure that nobody looked at him to say “Look what great things he has done!” but instead “What hath God wrought!”
”But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” I Cor 1:27-29
I only had a few minutes to spend with this young man, but I took away a few things:
1) I am going back to my paper Bible. I have moved to reading from a tablet due to its convenience, but to some extent, it seems like it has lost some reverence. As well, I no longer have people confront me (positively or negatively) for reading my tablet—they don’t know if I’m reading a novel, my email, or the Bible. And finally, I used to carry my Bible with me everywhere I went, now I don’t. I do carry my tablet everywhere, but when I look at my Bible, it reminds me of the Glory and power of our almighty God, and fuels within me a desire to know more. When I look at my tablet, it reminds me to check email and get distracted with the things of life.
2) Meeting Natania reading his Bible in a very public place in the Seattle airport was a reminder to me that there are still bold believers out there in the world. Believers who don’t care what others may think about them, and are firm in their faith. I’ve lost heart recently with the majority of believers I encounter, and how seemingly watered down their faith appears to be….and I (facetiously) wondered if there were any true believers left. I was reinvigorated and encouraged by meeting Natania, and I praise God for having us cross paths.
Natania asked “please pray for me every day” and I will do my very best to lift him up in my daily prayers.