Religion column: First impressions can often be misleading

Sometimes we make up our minds about people by looking at their dress or mannerisms. Yet, most of the time our assessments are wrong.

Paul wrote: “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18) The following story is an everyday example of how sometimes we that 2 Corinthians concept wrong.

A friend told me that she was in an international airport getting ready to board an airplane for a major metropolitan city on the East coast. She couldn’t help but notice an immaculately dressed woman waiting at the same gate. My friend thought that obviously the woman was accustomed to a luxurious lifestyle. She was dressed in a sophisticated designer outfit and clutched a Louis Vuitton carry on bag and matching purse. My colleague could tell that the lady’s hair style was the creation of an expensive, trendy salon. By this time, my friend was fascinated with watching the female passenger.

While waiting for the passengers to board the plane, my friend continued to glance at the female passenger in total amazement. Now the passenger was sipping a Starbuck’s coffee. She was eating some sort of snack, which my colleague determined was pistachio nuts. Imagine this — the bag holding the nuts was black in color with a silver-colored wording on the package, and the words were written in a foreign language! My colleague had the passenger assessed: here must be a woman with not a care in the world. Her financial means make her happy and well-adjusted. Her sophisticated circle of socialite friends gave meaning to her life.

As fate would have it, my colleague and the female passenger sat directly across the aisle from each other on the airplane. The passenger had no idea that my friend was intrigued with her lifestyle. When the passengers were buckled in, the safety instructions given and the plane was cruising at a comfortable altitude, the passenger searched for something in her Louis Vuitton bag. When the passenger began reading the book she had brought, my colleague was stunned! The woman was reading, The Case For Faith, an encouraging and supportive Christian book which speaks to Christians who need the encouragement of faith. Since my colleague is a Christian, she touched the fellow passenger on her arm and said to her, “I have read The Case For Faith, and it inspired me so much!” The two ladies began talking and sharing their life experiences. The passenger told my colleague of her diagnosis of breast cancer and of its aggressive return only a few years later. She continued to describe the debilitating side effects of the extensive surgery, the radiation, and the chemo therapy. The passenger endured weeks of painful physical therapy, and she continues to have regular check-ups in hopes that the disease would not strike again.

My friend asked the passenger, “What sustained you during this dark time?” Without a moment’s hesitation, the passenger answered, “My faith in Jesus Christ sustained me. I knew Jesus was with me every step of the way. In fact, looking back on my cancer, it was a blessing. I now have a new sensitivity to others who are going through trials.”

The two ladies conversed and laughed, and truly regretted to see the flight come to an end. When the two were deplaning, both ladies lingered to get a few last words in. The woman who was wealthy remarked, “Jesus never disappoints me. He has brought a believer into my life on this flight, on this day, at this time.” The two women went their separate ways. It was an encounter that will have even more meaning in eternity.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: