February 2, 2009
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Friend To Friend
The night before, I made all the final preparations for my trip from Charlotte to Kentucky, with a plane change in Atlanta. The conference had been booked a year ago and I was eager to be with the women who would be gathering in just a few hours. But the next morning proved to be one of those days that the harder I tried, the behinder I got. It all began at 6:35 am.
“My flight is at 9:35,” I told my husband. “So we should be safe leaving at 8:00. That will give us 30 minutes and I’ll get to the airport at 8:35.”
My husband, who says he has an airport ministry taking me to and fro, waited patiently in the car as I hopped in at 8:05. “Five minutes behind,” I smiled. “That’s not too bad.”
We pulled out of our garage and we were immediately engulfed in a wet blanket of dense fog. “I can’t see a thing,” Steve moaned. “This may take a while.”
After creeping out of the neighborhood, we eased onto the belt road and join the parade of cars inching their way through earthbound clouds. My heart began to race as the car continued to crawl. Clutching my ticket, I glanced down trying to will the departure time to be later than I had read earlier. “Oh no,” I cried, “I read the ticket wrong! The flight departs at 9:05, not 9:35. There’s no way I’m going to make it!”
I could tell from the white knuckles on the steering wheel that Steve was just about to resign from his airport ministry and keep his day job in dentistry. Dentistry was a lot less stressful.
Not another word was spoken all the way to the airport.
At 8:59, I bolted from the car, through the terminal doors, and to the security checkpoint. Faster than Superman in a phone booth, I stripped off my boots, jacket, earrings, necklace and watch, pushed my carry on through the x-ray monster’s mouth, and walked through the metal arches. Foot tapping on the other side the lackadaisical security specialist sang, “Ma’am, we’re going to have to check inside your luggage. There’s something in there we can’t identify.”
“No, please don’t,” I pled. “I’m about to miss my plane.”
“No, please don’t,” isn’t something that goes over too well with security guards. So they did – search my bag that is. Inside they discovered 25 scripture bracelets that read, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I almost laughed.
While they searched, I redressed and re-accessorized. Please Lord, let the flight be delayed, I prayed
I jogged to the gate in my three-inch heel boots only to discover that God had answered my prayers! The flight was delayed. Seemed I wasn’t the only one affected by the fog. Over the next 45 minutes, I regained consciousness, summoned my sanity, and slowed my pulse. I dared not tell the disgruntled passengers that the flight delay was my fault.
Finally, we were on the plane and on our way. But then…rolling, rolling, rolling, pause. Rolling, rolling, rolling, pause. It seemed that we were going to drive to Atlanta rather than fly. We sat on the runway for 45 more minutes and I knew that I was not going to make my connecting flight in Atlanta.
When we did finally arrive in Atlanta, 2 ½ hours behind schedule, I discovered that my flight to Kentucky was delayed and there were no more seats available for the entire day. I was placed on standby, only to join 40 others on standby as well. I was #32. The plane held 57 passengers and it was booked solid. I called the conference coordinator and gave her the news. Prognosis – not good. My attitude – even worse.
Now, I have left out lots of frustrating minute details, but let’s just say I was not happy. No one was cooperating: the weather, the airlines, or the One who controls it all. At least that’s how I felt. Pull up a chair beside me and watch what God did to adjust my attitude and put the day’s frustrations in perspective.
I’m sitting at a jam-packed gate filled with angry disgruntled passengers. B12. I look just like them, feel just like them, act just like them. Are you with me?
“Excuse me,” the airport employee announced. “Let’s clear the aisle, people. This plane is preparing to disembark. Clear the way. Make room.”
She walked over to the boarding door and positioned a red wheelchair by the entrance. Then she was joined by another, then another, then another. I had a front row seat and facing me – staring me in the face – were 7 attendees standing behind 7 shiny red wheelchairs… waiting for passengers disembarking the plane.
Then God began to speak to my heart. I suspect He had been trying to get my attention all day long, but I was too wrapped up in my own struggles to listen. Sharon, He began, which side of this aisle would you rather be on. The standby side or the side waiting for those who can’t stand at all.
Suddenly, my little trials and tribulations of the day seemed very small. So what if my flight was canceled. I could walk. I stopped whining and began thanking God – for eyes that see, ears that hear, fingers that feel, hands that help, lips that speak. I realized that I needed to focus less on the air traffic controllers and more on the One who controls the air. A little fog never stopped Him from accomplishing all that He has purposed and if He wanted me to sit in that airport, I could trust that He had a great plan.
I didn’t make that flight, but all 37 of us on standby did get out of Atlanta that night. A family of five made it to the wedding of a beloved son, a soldier in uniform returned to the arms of his waiting mom, and I made it to the conference with thirty minutes to spare.
God had it under control all along. He just needed to lift the fog in my own heart before I could see clearly to serve Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, there are many days when I get so anxious about the details of life. Thank you for the reminder that You are in control. Direct my path. Help me rest in the assurance that no matter what happens today, it is no surprise to You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
- When is the last time you became frustrated because of a delay?
- What was your attitude in that situation?
- How can today’s truth help you cope with the frustration when your well -made plans are interrupted by life?
More From The Girlfriends
Don’t you just love when God teaches you lessons right in the middle of your ordinary days? If you would like to read more stories to encourage you, see Sharon’s devotional book, Extraordinary Moments with God. You’ll begin to see His fingerprints on the pages of your life! Visit www.sharonjaynes.com
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