A Personal Knowledge

The young man acknowledged my presence with the nod of his head and a soft “hello” as I maneuvered into the seat beside him. We waited about 20 minutes to begin our journey from Providence, RI, to Chicago, and I sensed that he was preoccupied and did not want to talk. Finally we were on our way and waiting on a runway. Then as the plane accelerated, we heard strange noises. The young man looked at me with obvious alarm. I’m sure my eyes were as wide as his. “What was that?” he said. We did not return to the gate and the captain said nothing, so we breathed a sigh of relief and assumed that everything was okay. Then we began to talk.

I knew two things about him before he told me about himself: He liked Starbucks (He was carrying a Starbucks mug.); and he was a musician. I had observed him earlier carrying a viola with a well-worn cover over what I thought might be an expensive instrument. He told me his home base, the orchestra he was part of, and that he had been performing in New England.

I asked, “Have you ever played at Tanglewood.” (This is the summer home of the Boston Pops Orchestra, and my husband and I had been privileged to be there several times.)

“Oh yes,” he replied. “Twice.”

With great joy and emphasis I said, “I heard Yo Yo Ma at Tanglewood!”

“I had dinner with Yo Yo Ma,” he replied. I was impressed for sure!

Since our conversation a few weeks ago, I’ve often thought about the difference between the young man and me. My knowledge of Yo Yo Ma, the great cellist, is not personal. I only know him through listening to his music. Even at Tanglewood, I could only hear his music. I was with the crowd outside the pavilion who could not even see the great performer’s face. This young man actually spent time with Yo Yo Ma and talked to him face to face. His interaction was intimate, and his communication was personal.

I may never personally know a famous person on this planet, but I do want to know God personally and intimately. For that to happen, I need to spend time in His presence. I will not see Him until I reach heaven, but through His Word, I learn who He is and the depth of His love for me – a love that was so unfathomable that He sent His Son to this earth so that I might have eternal life. It’s though His Word that I gain wisdom and direction. Through prayer, I communicate as friend to friend. I tell Him my deepest concerns, and I know He hears every word.

As widows, we need a friend on whom we can depend – one we can speak with anytime, anywhere when the storms of life seem overwhelming. I can’t ask Yo Yo Ma to help me. I don’t know him. But I can ask God, and He has promised to “meet all my need according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). And He has promised to be with me always (Matthew 28:20).