Leaderology By Jeff Rawlins Launching soon.

The Best Tasting Pretzels Ever!

The Best Tasting Pretzels Ever!

It was April in 1996 and I was standing in an airplane bathroom on a NWA flight from Minneapolis, MN to New
York City on my way to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, when we hit some crazy turbulence that literally created a mini panic on board and forced me to rush back to my seat.

While rushing back to my seat and trying to squeeze myself in I caught the back of the armbar of the seat in front of me and it caused a deep, lacerating gash about 2 inches long in my side, ripping right through my shirt.

I love to fly but I also hate to fly. Here is why… I very much enjoy people watching and traveling to different places and being on the go, but the thing I dread most is the tiny little coach seat. The good lord did not seem fit to give me the fastest metabolism in the world- a slight understatement.

I have a 22 inch neck and wear a 56R Suit Jacket! I like to think of myself as big boned or husky- but never fat. Actually I am just a big guy- I played Football and wrestled in College- so there!

Needless to say, in a coach seat, I get very uncomfortable, break out into a sweat and it is just a miserable experience for me and not to mention the poor soul unlucky enough to be seated next to me. Now I fit in the seat and can put the arm rest down and buckle up- but that leaves me zero room to breathe and if the person in the row in front of my puts down their seat I’m really screwed. This particular trip I was with a group of folks from our church in North Dakota going on a mission trip. Keep in mind this was the DR before the DR became a world class tourist destination.

When you live in North Dakota, you have one flight option, fly out of Fargo to Minneapolis and to your destination, this trip was about 5 hours each way- a complete nightmare when your crammed in your seat, bleeding with a gash in the your side trying to find a happy place in your mind to prevent yourself from flipping out. I mean after all, this was a mission trip, I was here for the Glory of God to be a support and blessing to impoverished people in a remote jungle village, how christian would it be to flip out on a plane? LOL. That flight was brutal!

Well, we had finally made it to the DR and I feel sick with a 102 fever the second I got off the plane, the flight and two hour bus ride through jungle literally made me sick for the first two days I was there. On day three I was feeling much better and we got to the business at hand which was scouting the area to a place to show the “Jesus Movie”. We were very blessed and led by theLlord to find a small tiny village in the middle of the jungle that had a place where we could show the film.

Shortly after we watched the film, we met a very very young man, his wife and infant child. The man’s name was Pastor Mao and he came from a nearby village when word traveled that “Gringos” were showing a movie. After spending some time with Mao, he invited us to his home a short 3 mile walk in the jungle away :).

Upon arriving at Mao’s home, I soon discovered it was an old, vacant building with only half of a roof and a door that did not close all of the way. We asked how he got here and he told us the story on how he believed that God sent him to this remote village and wanted him to start a church in this jungle community, We asked if he had any money and what were his plans, his response was that God was going to send “gringos” to him from a far away place to help build his church. Interesting, huh?

We were the first and only “Gringos” that were coming. After a time of prayer and deliberation, our pastor decided that we would help Mao build his church, so we made plans to return on a future date.

Shortly before we left, Mao asked if he could pray for us, while we were praying I felt an incredibly strong urge to give him some money out of my own pocket, I decided to give him $50 which in DR pesos was big coin, but I kept having this sense that I should give more “everything you have in your pocket” was what kept coming to me. That would be crazy give all the money I had left for the trip??? We still had two days left, plus $250 was a lot of money. What would I do with no money? It would be in poor taste to borrow, right? The sense that I should give him everything I had came again and I recognized it as a leading from God-so I did it, I gave him every last cent I had, all $250.

At this time in my life I was fairly new in my walk in the lord and was just learning how to hear his still, small voice, so it took him getting my attention a few times.

Fast forward 24 hours later and we had one day left on the island before we flew home and all I could think about was the dreaded flight home and how miserable I was going to be sitting in that small, narrow seat. Literally I was up all night worrying about it. So I prayed and asked the lord to intervene for me.

The day of fight home arrived and I was walking up the steps to the plane, as I was headed back to the coach section, I handed my ticket to the flight attendant (back them you gave them your ticket when you boarded the plane) she grabbed me by the arm and asked me where I was going? I told her to my seat and she said your ticket has been upgraded you are in row 10-D. This is a first class ticket, sir! I couldn’t believe it, all of the uneasiness that I was sure that I was destined for over the next 5 hours had me so rattled I never even bothered to look at the ticket until that exact moment!!! I looked down at my ticket and it said 10-D, I was the only person in our group to be upgraded to first class, I had no status, no frequent flyer miles, nothing.

As I sat down in my seat, I suddenly had that same feeling and urge that came over me only a few days before when praying with Mao that asked me to give him all of the money I had left and this time, A simple sentence came up from the inside of my inner being and here is what I heard…

“You can’t out-give the lord, I know how to take care of my own!” WOW! God set me up He wanted to bless Mao and used me to do it! The first class upgrade was his way of saying that he loved me, he heard the cry of my heart and despair that I felt about flying in the coach seat on the way home and like any good father, he wanted to bless me. He heard and answered my prayer.

One of my favorite versus in all of the Bible says…”The eyes of the lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward him”.

God desires to show himself strong on your behalf, he wants to be invited into your marriage, your business deals, your sales meetings. He stands at the door and waits patiently, looking for that invitation that can only come from you. What are you waiting for? Invite God into every area of your life-I promise you will never regret it! I don’t!

Five minutes after I sat down in my first class seat, the stewardess came by and handed me a bag of pretzels, they were the best tasting Pretzels that I ever had. As a matter of fact, I kept that pretzel bag and that day placed it in my Bible where it has been sitting for the last 22 years, as a reminder of the faithfulness of  God. I have pulled that bag out often over the years as a fresh reminder that Jesus Rocks! You can see the picture of it on this blog. My wife has instructions that one day when its my time I will be wearing a black suit, underneath my Ohio State #75 Jersey and this empty bag of Pretzels taken from my Bible and placed in the inner pocket of my suit.

We serve a living, breathing God who loves to take care of his people. 22 years ago the THE GOD OF ALL OF THE UNIVERSE, heard the prayer of a Husky kid about an insignificant airplane seat and moved Heaven and Earth to bless him. Talk about Love!

God is just looking to bless you too, he stands at the door of your heart and waits patiently to be invited in. What are you waiting for???

5 Replies to “The Best Tasting Pretzels Ever!”

  1. As one who accompanied the mission team that day on our outreach to the Dominican Republic, I can testify to the veracity of everything Jeff has written.
    God knows our needs and often leads us to take a faith step which then releases God’s hand of blessing in our life. When Jeff literally gave all he had, at the direction of the Holy Spirit, God counted that as faith, and in response, blessed Jeff with a primo seat in the First Class section of the plane. Is anything too hard for the Lord? Hardly.

  2. What an amazing testimony to how much God loves His children. Your prayer was answered and you recognized it. God hears our small prayers each day and if we look we will see Him answer them in our daily lives. God is good all the time! Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. Thank You very much! When I walked onto that plane and realized I had been upgraded to First Class, it was overwhelming to realize that THE God of all Good things heard and answered my prayer, very humbling and powerful at the same time.

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