In the light of Barbara’s continuing mental confusion (she will be transferred to the psych ward today for observation), the following excerpt from EDIFIED was helpful, reminding me I can and must trust God in all of this.
“Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
In spite of a heavy downpour, I arrived at the Detroit airport in good time for my flight back to CT. After a week of teaching in Texas and another in Detroit, I was ready to get home.
At the gate it said the plane was on time; in fact it was sitting right there at the end of the ramp. However, at boarding time, an announcement was made that there would be a half hour delay because the crew was late. Then another delay–and another and another.
Each delay was further little adventure with Jesus, a chance to praise and trust. It turned out that the many thunderstorms of the day had stranded our crew on the runway in Columbus, Ohio for four hours.
They finally arrived and we boarded. The pilot then announced that our take off permission had expired and a new one needed to be printed. That took half an hour. Then came another announcement that they couldn’t find a machine to push us away from the gate. That took another 20 minutes. Then as we got out on the run way, the pilot stopped and shut off the engines, announcing that we were number 40 in the line to take off, but because of poor weather no planes were being allowed to leave at the moment. Half an hour later the engines started again and we crept to the front of the line and took off.
All this time my cell phone was not working for some reason, so during the last wait I borrowed my seatmate’s and called Barbara to tell her of the delays. Unbeknownst to me, she then wisely called the friend who was waiting to pick me up and told him to go home, as it was unclear when or if I would arrive. So when I got to CT more than four hours late, there was no one to meet me.
Well, this was a further adventure with Jesus; I prayed for wisdom and borrowed another passenger’s cell phone to call Barbara (there are no more pay phones at the airport!) and she said a neighbor would come to pick me up. Now comes the interesting part.
The fellow whose cell phone I’d borrowed came and sat next to me. His plane to Chicago had been cancelled because of the storms, so he was waiting for a hotel shuttle. In the course of our talk, he told me he had two sons, 6 and 8, both of whom had muscular dystrophy. This meant that by the time they are 10, they will be in wheel chairs, and would have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years. I asked how he handled that.
“At first I was angry with God, but after a couple of years saw that was not working, so have now turned back to him. I go to church, but don’t get much out of it. I’m not sure how to proceed there.”
We then had a wonderful talk about God, salvation and reading Scripture. At the end of our talk he eagerly took a brochure on salvation and then made a very insightful comment. “Now I know why my plane home was cancelled and why your plane was late—that made it possible for us to meet and for you to help me!” Pretty amazing that this seeker recognized this significant “Jesus sighting” in both our lives!
The delays and frustrations of our lives are not random and meaningless. God is at work orchestrating events for our protection and growth as well as to provide opportunities to speak into the lives of others. Our praise in the midst of uncertainty prepares our hearts and minds for the chance to be an instrument in God’s hands as we offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving (Psalm 50:23), getting up the shield of faith.
Prayer: “Lord, help me to live in the larger reality of your orchestrating power at work within and around me. Help me to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving for whatever comes, thereby honoring you and opening the way to join you in what you are doing. Amen.”