God and Seat 9B by Lisa Frisbie

inside of plane
source: raffik

Boarding a cross-country flight, we were disappointed to learn that exit row seats and bulkhead seats were not available. This meant that my husband, 6’6″ in his socks, would be cramped and uncomfortable as we flew across the country to speak at a marriage conference. We chatted with a friendly gate agent, looking for options. Noticing my husband’s height, the agent offered a solution.

“I’ll book you an aisle and a window, and mark off the seat in between,” she told us. “Other agents won’t fill that seat; nobody will sit there unless the flight sells out.”

We thanked the agent, boarded on schedule, and took our seats in 9A and 9C. With the seat between us open, my husband could angle his long legs a bit, gaining much needed space.

Imagine our dismay when, just before the exit doors closed, a flight attendant marched down the aisle to our row. “Here it is,” the attendant said clearly, “Seat 9B. This is where you’ll sit during the flight.”

Walking behind the flight attendant was a slender, dark-haired little girl wearing jeans and carrying a stuffed bear. My husband and I exchanged quick glances, both of us with the same unspoken thought: “Oh no, there goes our extra space!”

We should have realized—God was up to something.

I offered the girl my window seat, hoping she’d accept so my husband and I could sit side-by-side. “No thank you,” the girl replied, smiling. “My name is Taylor. What’s your name?” With that, our conversation began.

Would you believe that Taylor, age 7, had just experienced the divorce of her parents, and was about to make her first-ever solo flight between Mom’s house and Dad’s house? And God, in His ever-creative way, decided to put Taylor in Seat 9B, directly between two marriage counselors who specialize in the post-divorce family!

For the next three hours, my husband and I answered Taylor’s intelligent, non-stop questions about what divorce would mean for her. Did her parents still love her? Would she grow up to be normal? Would she end up getting divorced too, if she ever got married? Taylor’s questions were wise beyond her age. We answered honestly, positively, and talked matter-of-factly about God in our conversation. We always do!

On landing we needed to hurry to our speaking appointment. We made sure the flight attendant had full custody of Taylor and that Taylor was well protected before we left the gate and dashed toward the car-rental counter.

One of the last things we did was give Taylor a brochure and our business card, telling her that she and her parents were welcome to e-mail us any time. But we were a little surprised when Taylor’s father e-mailed us less than 24 hours later, thanking us for the positive way we answered Taylor’s questions. “I am so thankful that my little girl was seated between two people like you!” the father wrote.

A week or so later we got an e-mail message from Taylor’s mom also. “Taylor just told me about her flight down to see her dad,” said the mother’s note. “And I wanted you to know that I prayed and asked God to put the right people around Taylor as she flew, people who would protect her and care about her. God is so good!”

Never underestimate God’s ability to answer your prayers, and protect your child, if your son or daughter has to travel solo. Take the time to pray—and watch as God answers your prayers in creative and meaningful ways.

Dr. David and Lisa Frisbie serve as Executive Directors of The Center for Marriage and Family Studies in Del Mar, California. They are family counselors and authors, specializing in the post-divorce family. Frequent speakers at conferences and seminars, they have traveled to all 50 US states, 9 provinces and 2 territories of Canada, and more than 40 world nations to teach, speak, and train family counselors. Lisa and David are the authors of 19 books and dozens of articles about marriage and family life; their articles are frequently featured in ParentLife and BabyLife magazines.

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