Thursday, 31 May 2012

A remarkable encounter

John Wimber was on a flight from Chicago to New York.  As he sat on the plane his eyes began to wonder around the cabin.  Seated across the aisle from him was a middle-aged man.  In the split second that his eyes happened to be cast on this man, John saw something that startled him.  Written across this man's face, in very clear and distinct letters, was the word 'adultery'.  He blinked, rubbed his eyes, and looked again.  It was still there.  'Adultery.' 
By now the man had become aware that John was looking at him.  'What do you want?' he snapped.
As he spoke, a woman's name came to John's mind.  Somewhat nervously, he leaned across and asked the man, 'Does the name Jane [not her real name] mean anything to you?'
The man's face turned ashen.  'We have got to talk,' he stammered.
The plane was a jumbo jet, at the time when they had upstairs cocktail lounges.  As he followed the man up the stairs John sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to him saying, 'Tell him if he doesn't turn from his adultery, I'm going to take him.'
'Who told you that name?'
'God told me.'
'God told you?'
'Yes.  He also told me to tell you ... that unless you turn from this adulterous relationship, he is going to take your life.'
'What should I do?'
John explained to the man what it meant to repent and trust Christ, and invited him to pray together.  John began, 'O God ...'
But that was as far as he got.  The conviction of sin had built up so much inside the man that he virtually exploded.  Bursting into tears he cried out, 'O God, I'm so sorry' and launched into the most heartrending prayer of repentance John had ever heard.
John writes, 'It was impossible, in such cramped quarters, to keep hidden what was happening.  Before long everyone in the cocktail lounge was intimately acquainted with this man's past sinfulness and present contrition.  The flight attendants were even weeping right along with him.'
When the man had finished praying he explained to John, 'The reason I was so upset when you first mentioned that name to me was that my wife was sitting in the seat right next to me.  I didn't want her to hear.'
'You're going to have to tell her.'
'I am?' he responded weakly.  'When?'
'Better do it right now,' John said gently.
John recalls, 'I couldn't hear the conversation over the noise of the plane, but I could see his wife's stunned reaction, not only to his confession of infidelity, but also to his account of how the stranger sitting across the aisle had been sent by God to warn him of the consequences of his sin.  Eyes wide with amazement (and probably terror!), she stared first at her husband, then at me, then back at her husband, then back at me, as the amazing story unfolded.  In the end the man led his wife to accept Christ, right there on the plane.'
'There was little time to talk when we got off the plane in New York.  They didn't own a Bible, so I gave them mine.  Then we went our separate ways.'

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