Serendipity: Gods Greater Plan

Serendipity: God’s Greater Plan

By Melinda Estabrooks


When I stepped into the airplane that Monday afternoon at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, I was all focused on the three one-on-one interviews and the four Bible study episodes I would be recording in downtown Vancouver. There were also two live-audience panel discussions to host and record in Whistler at the Leverage Women’s Conference shortly after.

My mind was overwhelmed with the details, the scripts, production notes, and the coordination of ALL THE THINGS involved in this See Hear Love marathon! As Host and Executive Producer, I felt the weight of responsibility to ensure everything would go right and deliver well.

I was SO focused on what was going to happen that coming week that I almost missed what was happening right beside me…across the aisle, in the window seat.

I heard the crying. I saw the service dog. And I ignored it all.

I buried my head in my phone. I played games and listened to music.

I wanted to protect my mental focus and emotional strength to be fully prepared for these BIG See Hear Love productions.

I didn’t have the bandwidth for more people, drama, and anything that would expend my energy.

So, I ignored her.

Well, I tried to.

Then the woman across the aisle asked the woman between us to watch her service dog while she went to the back of the airplane. “Can you please make sure my dog doesn’t follow me? Can you hold him back if necessary?” she said.

My seatmate looked at me, and I at her. And we instantly knew we had to step up, show up right now.

Now there’s something about a dog, its eyes, waggy tail, and trusting demeanour that can instantly melt any hard heart, which it did to mine.

That dog’s entire existence on that plane, at that time, was to love, not judge, and

soothe that woman who was in trauma.

And I think that dog, well, God using that dog—was also there to change my heart and snap me out of my selfish ways…and do the thing that I SAY to every viewer and listener after every show…SEE, HEAR and LOVE those around you!

I had chosen NOT to do THE THING that I tell everyone else to do. HEART CHECK…and thank you, Holy Spirit.

So, after the window-seat woman returned to her seat and the dog jumped up and gave her cuddles of welcome and care, my seatmate and I asked how she was doing.

And that was all it took.

Tears flowed. A story of recent trauma was shared. A traumatic event that she blamed herself for. And we listened. And listened. And told her it wasn’t her fault.

And when she stopped to wipe her tears away and blow her nose, she looked right at me and asked if I was a religious person, a Church person…what they call a ‘Christian.’

And I said, “Yes, I am a Christian. I follow Jesus.”

And she said, “I knew it! You have a LIGHT. There is kindness in you. I could tell you were of faith. I needed some understanding, someone to listen, someone to pass me tissue paper, someone to say it wasn’t my fault, someone to encourage me in my next steps…and it’s, it’s serendipitous, destiny…that YOU happen to sit in the same row as me!”

And in that moment, in the midst of her utter despair, surrounded by a sweet dog, me, and my seatmate, God met us all there—divine connection, for sure. Not across the TV screen or at a large church event or at a Christian concert or listening to a podcast —and those things are all great too—but today, God met us in REAL LIFE.

He met us right at that moment, exactly where we sat on that airplane, at 35,000 feet in the air.

And I learned something very valuable that day.

I could get so caught up in my GOOD plans that I could miss the even GREATER plans and connections that God has for me.

Listen, planning my See Hear Love shows is really, really good. But listening to the Holy Spirit say ‘Melinda, ask the woman in the window seat how she’s doing because I want her to know that she is SEEN, HEARD, and LOVED by ME’ is even better!

I can never lose sight of that. Ever.

And WE can never lose sight of that. Ever.

Often the people that need us the most, that need God the most are right in front of us – at home, at our workplaces, at the gym, at the driving range, at your favourite retail store, at the cottage, at your favourite coffee shop, in your travels.

Or, maybe it’s YOU that you have to get in front of. Maybe YOU need a moment to stop all the busyness and listen to what God is saying to you and what God is asking of you.

After we landed, we took a picture (which I won’t post for privacy reasons) and exchanged phone numbers and hugs. And as I took my suitcase off the carousel, a thought struck me: What if the entire reason I went to Vancouver, BC, was for THAT moment to be on THAT airplane at THAT time to listen to our new friend?

I know that’s how God works sometimes. A lot of times.

He cares for the one. He sees the one. And he will use dogs, airplanes, and even TV shows to remind that one person that they are seen, heard, and deeply loved by HIM.