Brenda Van Ness recently had a “meals with Jesus” experience the defied her own expectations. And as Jesus does, He used this unconventional meal to be a blessing to her as well as to her guest. Below is the story in her own words:

I recently had to leave my Mom in a nursing home for rehab after hip surgery, and I asked the Lord for a sign that she would be OK—mostly that she would be cared for adequately and that her needs would be met. I had a couple rays of hope before leaving Florida, but the real answer came with a 16-ounce bag of trail mix.

On my flight home I was seated next to a young man whom I’d sized up as an ordinary, clean-cut African-American man in his early to mid-twenties. We said, “hello” and settled in with our earphones and reading materials. Since the snack on the airline is the smallest-possible bag of peanuts, I pulled out my own bag of trail mix for dinner. After a few bites, I sensed the Lord suggesting I share it with the guy by the window, but my immediate reaction was: “That’s silly. He surely doesn’t need it, and he’s way over by the window. I must be making this up.” But I couldn’t get the thought to go away. “Share your trail mix with him.”  In obedience, I offered it to him. He opened his hands for me to pour a small portion, but I gave him the bag. He smiled and thanked me, took it and ate.

Later, as we got closer to landing, something outside the window caught my attention, and I started small-talk with him. That’s when I discovered he could barely speak English! He was traveling from Peru to visit family.

I felt privileged to share food with the “stranger among us.” Considering how expensive airport food is, maybe he was hungry. Or maybe he just needed kindness at the end of a long journey. Or maybe I just needed to know that in the same way God had taken care of this man through a stranger on an airplane, He will provide for my mom’s needs in ways I can’t even know to ask for.