“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By Chris Asbury, pastor, circuit visitor

Who is on the plane?

“When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Ps. 91:15–16)

Sometimes we don’t recognize who is sitting right next to us.

In February 2016, a World Series winning left fielder breathed the same uncirculated 747 air as me for two hours, and I didn’t know it.

He sat on the aisle. I sat by the window.

His glove, name-inscribed, sat between us as we flew coach on Southwest to Phoenix.

But even though I was on my way to a ministry conference, I was panicked after a rough morning, trying to relax, clueless to my neighbor.

I had just read Ps. 91:15–16, before my flight and heard it the weekend before during worship.

I spoke this to myself throughout the day, trying to remember the truth of God’s salvation and presence despite my feelings to the contrary.

Remembering His promises gave me a measure of comfort I otherwise would not have had.

After my flight to Phoenix, a friend on my plane saw me near baggage claim and asked me if I knew I was sitting next to a Kansas City Royal, Alex Gordon.

I told him “No,” but the look on my face said that already.

My same friend had also sent me a text message before the plane took off trying to tell me, but I hadn’t checked my messages.

Next time, I’m going to check my messages before flying and remember to introduce myself.

Maybe my neighbor didn’t mind flying unrecognized, but maybe I could have provided a caring reminder of grace even to a superstar.

I also could always share who is continually with us, with anyone on the plane.

In our world where celebrity reigns, but comes and goes, God never leaves us.

Jesus is always with us.

“… I will be with him in trouble …” (Ps. 91:15)

Jesus was sitting next to us on that plane.

There is a sermon hidden in every story of our lives. And Jesus is there, writing on the crumpled pages of our hearts, etching His cross and empty tomb into our minds and lives by the power of the Spirit working through His Word.

But I get very afraid sometimes. So might you.

Sometimes it might cause us to crumple up and cry.

So, what is God up to on a panicky and confused day like that? Where is He to be found? What does He teach us?

We might not feel God or see Him, but God is there.

His Word and Sacraments promise us this truth that trumps emotion.

“… I will be with him in trouble …”

He is right next to us on land, air or sea … even when we don’t realize it.

Good to read. Good to remember. Good to share with anyone who is with us.

Chris Asbury serves as associate pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Neb.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.