Traveling has always been fun for me, because I love the stress of it. My love of turbulence began when my brother took me and my mother up on a four-seater plane over Amsterdam. He did dips and turns to make our stomachs leap into our hearts. And I was kind of addicted.
The excitement over catching connecting flights began in that same year, when my mother and I misread the gate in which we were to board. We were tarrying at the wrong gate, and had to sprint to the correct one, which, at the time, seemed to be at the other end of Schipol airport.
This year, I made a significant trip that turned the page on the latest chapter of life. I left the school I had helped re-open and establish, to begin a furlough in which I will seek direction for the next mission field.
There was one particular leg of the journey that caused much anxiety: I was flying into Chicago where I needed to claim my baggage, pass customs and immigration, and re-check my baggage before boarding. And I had two hours and five minutes to do it.
Now, if you are a non-American, you know how LONG those lines at immigration can be. Many times it’s a serpentine stretch of humanity with crying babies, cranky travelers and anxious first-time arrivals. It’s fun to watch, but extremely stressful to go through when you have minutes to board your flight.
Our departure from Brussels was delayed by thirty minutes. Now I had only 1.5 hours to do all that I needed to do. I started fretting. Then I prayed. “I TRUST You, Lord. You have done so many wonderful things in my life (insert memories of God’s providences here). I KNOW I’m going to get to my destination, but I cannot control any of these external circumstances. What I can and must do is trust You. So I do. And I will. I decide, by Your grace, that I will just rest on Your sovereignty. Amen.”
First answer to prayer: My heart is now at rest for the remainder of the eight hour flight.
Second answer to prayer: The pilot recovers the 30 minutes we lost at Brussels.
Third answer: My baggage comes out among the first (thanks, United!)
Fourth answer to prayer: I meet a new friend who is Rwandese–he’s on his way back from vacation in Rwanda and we talk about things that distract us from our rush.
Fifth answer to prayer: The immigration section is close to empty at this time of day! I cannot even believe my eyes. Thank You, Lord!
Sixth answer to prayer: I am sent to one lane in which a man delays me because “I’m still talking to this officer.” I pray again. “I trust YOU, Lord, and this man cannot steal my joy.” So another immigration officer (a much kinder looking one) calls me over. He delays, too, but stamps the usual six months on my passport.
Seventh answer (this is actually the TEST of whether I would really trust God): I get pulled in to be patted down at the security check, and for some reason, the machine beeps when the lady tests my hands. She sends me over to a discreet room to be searched again. There is no nervousness in one who has nothing to hide, and there is no fear in someone who trusts. And so I decide to tell them afterwards, “Thank you for keeping us safe.”
And finally: I am through, and I have enough time to get some coffee (and drink it!) before my flight.
Thank You, Lord, those who put their hope in you shall never be put to shame.
Decide to trust in the Lord NOW. You are not able, so pray, “Lord, give me grace to trust You right now. I am anxious, but I want to rest in You. I remember all your mighty works. If You have done those things, can You not do for me now, according to Your will? Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Nothing is too difficult for Thee.