I believe in Jesus: Note From Author
by BISHOP MINERVA G. CARCANO*
On a plane to the Philippines I met an elderly woman on her way home to bury her husband. We sat across the aisle from each other and through the darkness of that night flight her kind yet intense eyes seemed to search my soul for a connection. Her children had chosen not to accompany her home. Their lives were full and busy, and home was now somewhere else.
“I am old and wretched,” she said. “My back is so bad and causes me such terrible pain that I can’t even sleep. See, I have to stuff my bag behind my back just to make sitting bearable.”
Her words led me to her tiny and crooked frame. As she caught me staring at her deformed body, her eyes filled with tears.
“I am all alone,” she shared from a deep and lonely place within her.
I found myself instinctively stretching out my hand and touching hers. The space between us seemed to disappear. Human pain has a way of drawing us near to each other. I had no idea what her faith was but I risked sharing my faith with her saying she was not alone for God was with her. God would give her strength and never abandon her. She wiped her tears away and pressed her free hand on mine, again looking deeply into my eyes. A gentle smile crossed her face and I was struck by the peaceful silence of the moment. Minutes before we had been complete and total strangers, and now we were bound by the comfort of touch and the power of a few simple words of faith.
I watched as this old woman’s eyes became heavy with sleep. Before long we were both sleeping. If I had provided any measure of comfort to this woman, she had done the same for me. Her allowing me to speak of my faith in God’s abiding presence in all our lives had brought me just as much comfort and peace.
We were awakened at the other end of our trip by cabin lights being turned on, the voice of the pilot announcing our imminent landing, and the shuffle of persons readying to disembark after a long trip. As the plane landed there was joyous applause from relieved travelers, and then the voice of the bent-over widow woman sitting across from me as she exclaimed, “Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!”
Perhaps this woman and I had helped each other express our belief in a faithful God we have each come to know in Jesus the Christ. My hope is the spiritual growth study, I Believe in Jesus, will likewise help everyone who reads it give voice to their own belief in Jesus.
*Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño is the spiritual leader of Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church.