I was a little stressed out about my flight schedule when the day began. The good price from the airlines I chose included two layovers that were short enough to make a veteran traveler nervous. When I checked in for the flight to Atlanta, the agent assured me the first connection would work, if all went well. Experience told me that I could relax- but only a little. As I waited to board that flight, I became involved in a conversation with a couple of guys who were going to Prague next week. I’d like to say the conversation was deep with powerful soteriological undertones, but it wasn’t. It did, however, last long enough that I missed the boarding for my section of the plane.
That did not bother me at all. The later I get on, the less time I spend there. But, what happened next kicked the stress level up a couple of notches. As I was making my way to board, an announcement was made informing passengers who had not yet entered the gate that there was a mechanical problem that had halted boarding. Folks already on were stuck while the rest of us waited. I knew that brought to an end any hopes of making even my first connection.
At the advice of the agent at the gate I made my way to the help desk which was located a couple of minutes away. I told the agent there that I didn’t care when my bags made it to Prague, but I needed to get there- hopefully by finding a seat on a direct flight to Amsterdam that was scheduled to leave from a nearby gate within a couple of hours. She told me that I had to be on the same plane my bag was on. Given the fact my plane was already boarding, there was no realistic hope. They would need to offload my bag, and there just wasn’t time.
With the stern and determined look on her face she kept pecking away at her computer until suddenly a boarding pass for the direct flight to Amsterdam spat out of the machine. The bag would be transferred and I was back on schedule to arrive in Prague with a few hours to catch my breath before my first study.
As, at 36,000 feet I take the time to reflect, I’m reminded of several things. First, while I wanted to arrive on time, it wasn’t that important. If I’m a day late or don’t get there at all the world will keep spinning, God’s people in Europe will keep serving their master, and God will still be in control.
And, as I have done too often in the past and fear I will sometimes do in the future, I judged too quickly how things would work out based on my finite knowledge and limited view. Just when I knew things were all messed up, something even better than I had planned or hoped for came along.
The lady who resolved the problem in such a wonderful way has a tough job dealing with tired, irate, frightened travelers hour after hour. I’m guessing the fact that I managed to smile and be polite didn’t hurt the process any. Does smiling and being polite ever hinder a good outcome? I hope I will remember that next time as well.
I won’t pretend I understand what all the working parts are in this scenario, but please don’t think of me as “lucky.” I’m thanking God for his care. As I write this I don’t know what will happen between here and Prague, but for now, I’m reminded to cast my cares on him because he cares for me. Hopefully my faith I will be strong enough to do that again tomorrow.