Plane Rides (The Whisper of God)

I sat next to him on a plane a while back. He boarded with his ukulele and a camouflaged backpack slung carelessly across his shoulders.

He couldn’t have been more than 15,  maybe 16. There was still enough boy etched onto his face just there behind the tell-tale signs of impending manhood.

The airplane was dark. Except for the light that beamed spotlight-like over his seat. The captain, with his muffled voice came over the cabin speakers as the plane picked up speed, and while I clung to the seat arms with a white-knuckle grip the young man reached into the seat pouch in front of him  pulled out a tiny leather book.


It lay there in his lap, the light from above shining across onion-thin paper. He took hold of the red silk ribbon that meandered like a path down the bent-back spine and let its softness move across the back of his hand. His fingers traced the words  written across the page, as if their truth could be absorbed through his fingertips.

Back and forth they went, his lips murmuring in time with his fingers, a holy rhythm that speaks of ancient times.

I was taken aback by one so young, so immersed in truth. It made me think of my own small leather Book tucked in my carry-on and the story of  a long-ago young Jewish boy, the Wholly Divine dressed in the skin of a child, that can be found in its pages.

He was just twelve years old and even though Passover was complete he couldn’t bring himself to leave the words, the conversation.  He couldn’t bring himself to leave his Father’s house, and so there he sat for three days.  His parents frantic with worry finally found him sitting among the teachers doing what his heart was drawn to.  He was  doing what His heart demanded of Him – He had immersed himself in his Father’s story.

I can almost smell the parchment; see the dust floating in an ethereal glow as his tender hands lay the holy script flat.  I can see the way his boy-like fingers moved over the words. While everything about his appearance was child, His eyes and heart held the holy, the  eternal.

I wonder,  did he recall the echo of voices and prophets of days gone by? Did he vibrate with hope as God’s promises unfolded throughout the ages? Did he read the prophecies and wonder even then whether or not His purpose, His cup could be taken from Him?

What about those who were there that day?  Did they know?  Could they tell that they were listening to the holy whisper of God’s voice through the voice of His Son? As they probed the depths of the mysteries of God from creation to the very day that found them sharing air with the the Saviour, did they realize they were sitting in the company of the Creator himself?


It’s these thoughts that swirl through my mind as I watch this young man-child move through the scriptures with ease.  There is something that tugs on my soul as I think about my own time with God and I wonder.

Do I sit wide eyed and expectant in front of my Saviour?  Do hang on  every word that rings with truth and reconciliation in the onion-skin thin pages of my own Bible?  Do I use the word of God to infuse me with life?  Do I react with tenderness to the promises that fill the pages?

My soul aches for that kind of communion with Jesus.  It aches with a burning and lately I haven’t answered that ache with anything more than going through the motions. “It’s what I’m supposed to do” I say to myself, “it’s what he expects of me.”

I cringe at the words as they enter my mind.  Truly?  Is this what God is looking for? Is He hoping that every time I lay His word flat in front of me I do it because I think He expects it?  Does He truly expect anything more from me than my desire to be near Him?

I know it to the depth of my being that what I think God wants is so far removed from the truth.  What I know I want however, is the knowledge of God’s peace that speaks through ancient words on a page, He is good and He is sufficient.


I want to know that no matter how much I grip with white-knuckles through this crazy world His comfort is always available to me.  His peace is more than sufficient for whatever life throws at me.   I want to lay my Bible open and finger the familiar yet ancient, and let comfort find me in the most difficult of circumstances.

I want to not even notice that three days have gone by because I’m so immersed in a deep and lasting connection with God.  I want to find the trust of child, before the world had sunk its jaded claws deep in their skin.

I see that boy, the one on the plane, every now and then in my mind.  When I’m clutching at the crazy and he reminds me that what I need, every promise ever made on my behalf, can be found in the new mercies of each day…

And the pages of His word.




1 Comment

  1. angelalegacysevenstudios

    “I want to lay my Bible open and finger the familiar yet ancient, and let comfort find me in the most difficult of circumstances.” – yes, this. I want what is ancient to become familiar to me. And yet stay always new, because it – because HE – is alive. Thank you for such beautiful words, sister. 🙂 (swinging by, and pausing for a while, from FMF.)

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