Published June 27, 2017

Shelia Shares

Have you ever noticed that God has unexpected ways of providing for us in every situation? The following story exemplifying that is shared by permission of author and friend, Donna Clark Goodrich.

"My Three Angels"
by Donna Clark Goodrich

Exhausted, I sat in the Detroit airport waiting to board my plane, and wishing instead I could curl up on the seat and go to sleep. How am I going to last through a five-hour flight back to Arizona with two plane changes? I sighed.

My mind drifted back over the last twenty-three months — back to the day the surgeon told my siblings and me, "I'm sorry. Your mother has cancer." Eighteen months later she was gone.

Several weeks after her death, my 73-year-old stepfather came to Arizona for a five-month visit. Having experienced several mini-strokes and dementia, he would repeat the same words over and over ("I bet you miss your mother, don't you?"). Or he would cry because no one loved him, or complain in frustration because he couldn't drive or do the other things he once did.

Caring for him from January to May, while operating an income tax and secretarial service out of my home, totally wore me out. My family helped as much as they could, but my husband had multiple health problems, and our three teenagers all worked and were also involved in school activities.

When my stepfather's visit came to an end, I traveled back to Michigan with him. Now, two days later, I sat in the Detroit Metro terminal waiting for my flight to Chicago. I seriously thought of calling a local Christian radio station for prayer support. Instead I lifted my request directly to God: "Lord, I'm so tired, and I still miss Mom. Please give me the strength to make it home."

As I sat there "people-watching," I saw a family of four walk down the corridor. The man was smartly dressed in a black suit, his wife wore a full-length fur coat, the little boy was attired in a suit and tie, and a small girl wore a deep purple velvet dress. They radiated love.

When I heard the announcement to board, I dragged myself up from my chair, stumbled down the jetway into the plane and found my seat. A few minutes later the father I had seen walking with his family sat down beside me and said hello. Even though my mind felt numb, when the man spoke to me, the quality of his voice captivated me.

"You must be a singer," I said to him.

"I am." He reached into his wallet and handed me a card. Underneath the name of his family were the words "Gospel Singers."

I told him about my nephew, Dave Clark, a songwriter in Nashville, who had traveled with a group of Southern Gospel singers (the Speer Family) for five years. When I mentioned his name, the man's face brightened. "I know Dave!" he said.

The flight passed rapidly as we shared stories of songs and singers we both knew, and the reasons for our individual trips. When we parted in Chicago, he grasped my hand firmly, saying, "I'll be praying for you," and he was gone.

Another terminal, another wait, but my heart felt a bit lighter. I hummed an old hymn as I found the next gate.

Standing in line to board the second plane, I noticed that the lady ahead of me held a book written by a well-known Christian author. "That's a good book, isn't it?" I said to her.

"Oh yes," she answered, smiling. "Have you read it?"

We chatted away until we boarded the plane, and then were pleased to find ourselves seatmates. The trip from Chicago to St. Louis was over before I knew it as we discussed books and authors we loved.

At the St. Louis airport, I waited to board my third—and last—plane. I always dreaded this three-hour flight, but the Lord reminded me how He had already smoothed the way with two of His messengers.

I found my seat, asked for a pillow and blanket, and snuggled against the window. Soon a lady settled in beside me. As we waited for our meal and talked, she told me she was from a small town in Missouri.

"I know a family in that town," I told her. "The wife worked with me at our church publishing house before they moved." I gave her their names.

Her face lit up. "They go to my church!" she exclaimed. "What wonderful people."

We engaged in a delightful conversation all the way to Phoenix, the pillow and the blanket lying unused in my lap.

When I walked through the gate at Sky Harbor Airport, my husband hugged me and lovingly said, "You must be tired."

I remembered my earlier fatigue and realized with surprise how upbeat I now felt. "I thought I would be," I replied. "But the Lord sent me three angels on my trip, and I'm feeling fine."

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