My sons and I took a trip recently that required an airplane ride that had a connecting flight. Due to weather issues, the first flight was delayed and therefore we missed our connecting flight. We were rebooked on the first flight the next morning. We arrived at the connecting airport at 11:30 p.m. and our morning flight was at 8:00 a.m. The process of leaving the airport and taking a shuttle to the nearest motel was going to take at least an hour and then the process of returning to the airport, checking in, going through security and making it to the departing gate would take at least two hours, leaving us about five hours in the motel room. Collectively, we decided to spend the night in the airport, so we found a quiet level and corner and settled in for the duration. It wasn’t the most restful night, but it wasn’t bad.
Just how often do things in life actually go as we expect them to go? The ability to adapt to the circumstances is an important skill. If we are inflexible then we are likely to be very frustrated most of the time.
As a student of the Bible it comes as no surprise that most of the lessons of faith are learned when things do not go as expected. Stepping out in faith is what Abram and Sarai did and did and did some more. And they’re not the only ones. Isaac and his sons, Esau and Jacob and so on and so on—story after story is about things not going as planned or expected. Jacob thought he was going to marry Rachel and ended up with Leah first. Of course, he got the better of his father-in-law. But things didn’t go so well for his favored son Joseph. He came out pretty well in the end, but it was a circuitous route he had to take.
Think about the Exodus. How often did things go as expected? I doubt very much that anyone thought it would take as long as it did to make it to the Promised Land. I doubt that any of them gave much thought to the issue of food and water that would be needed for so many people for such a long journey. Evidently they missed their connecting flight to wherever they expected they’d be going as they got out of the oppressive situation they were in. It didn’t take too long before they were moaning and groaning that they’d be better off as slaves back in Egypt where they at least knew they were going to get something to eat. Things were not going as they expected and they ended up relying on God entirely.
The ability to adjust and accept that things are not working out as expected is an important lesson to learn. Remarkably faith is an incredible asset in such situations. Trusting that things are going to be okay, that though things may not go as planned or that we need to change expectations is a blessing that comes with trusting that God is sovereign and providential. Sometimes in such challenging situations faith requires us to find a quiet place and take a rest until we can get on our way again.
Getting anxious about such events, or non-events as the case may be when nothing happens though we planned for something to happen, is a natural reaction, but anxiety doesn’t tend to solve anything.
After my boys and I fitfully slept for a couple of hours we finally sat up and finally started walking around as more people began to show up for flights. We found a place to have breakfast and then found our departing gate. Our flight left on time and the rest of our itinerary went as planned.
We are promised a destination in scripture that I’m certain will come to fruition. How we get there and whether we make all our connecting flights on the way is up for grabs.
© Stephen Carl