Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Flight That Went Nowhere

Ah, the joys of travel.

I've been doing my share of traveling, mostly by plane, in the last two years. With hubby Roger working in Phoenix, most of my recent travels have been in and out of Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport. Most of the time things go relatively smoothly. But not the last two weeks. At least on the flights I've been on.

Last Monday, June 24, was a very windy day in Denver. Now when I say very windy, I don't mean what most people think of as windy. Believe me, I've lived in many different places, but never have I encountered winds like those in Colorado. That day we had wind clocking in at 75 mph. All day.

My flight was supposed to leave around 6:00 p.m., and I checked with the airline before leaving for DIA. My flight was scheduled to leave on time. Even when I checked my baggage, all the way through security and out to my gate at the very end of the concourse, everything posted said my flight would leave on time.

Until ten minutes before we were to board. No plane. And even then, there was no announcement. I looked up from my book to see Nashville flashing above the door to the Jetway instead of Phoenix. What?

I checked the departure monitors. Now delayed until 9:15.

The plane didn't arrive from Phoenix until well after the winds died down. The day-long backlog of arriving flights were vying for clearance to land, and it was 10:15 before our plane arrived.

We finally left at 10:45. Yep. Five hours late.

However, I chalked it up to another experience in my travel adventures, and didn't think anything more about it really. Until yesterday's installment of Margie's travel escapades.

My plans were to fly to Wichita, Kansas (via Denver), to meet up with two of my online critique partners for a weeklong "retreat." My flight to Denver was scheduled to leave Phoenix at 7:00 a.m. So . . . up early, finished packing, got in the truck for the ride to Sky Harbor Airport.

Everything went like clockwork. Until we were all loaded and had pushed back from the gate. One minute the pilot came on to tell us we were waiting for clearance to get in line to take off, the next minute he's telling us they were going back to the gate to have maintenance look at a computer glitch. Shouldn't take too long.

Ri-i-i-i-i-ght. Seven went to eight, as it inevitably does. And we were still sitting at the gate. I called Roger. I called Kim. Knowing I'd missed my flight to Wichita, I debated about whether to go ahead and fly to Denver and take my chances on the airline getting me on another flight to Wichita or staying in Phoenix until the next flight.

Either option would have been fine . . . if it weren't the day after a holiday weekend. Sigh. I crawled out of my seat by the window and made my way to the front of the plane to speak with the gate agent. She told me there was another flight to Wichita that day and she would check to see availability.

So I crawled back into my seat, of course displacing my two gracious seatmates once again. Called Roger. Decided to wait a little longer.

Now it's 8:30. People are getting restless. Making desperate phone calls. Postponing meetings. Leaving the plane to make other arrangements for travel.

I kept asking the Lord what I should do. And every time He reminded me of the verse I posted here earlier that morning. Proverbs 3:5–6 from The Message:

"Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. 
Listen for GOD's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track."

So I sat. About 8:45 Roger called and said he'd checked the flights for the rest of the day. No available seats. 

Okay. For over an hour we'd had no word on how the work was progressing. Maintenance had put in a new computer, rebooted all the systems on the plane, and they still had a glitch. 

I could fly to Denver . . . whenever that would be. And arrange for a seat on a flight Wednesday from there. I could spend the night at home. Or I could get off the plane now, arrange for the next available flight, and have Roger come get me. I opted for the latter.

Grabbed my stuff, asked my long-suffering seatmates to let me out one last time, and headed down to ticketing to see what I could arrange. But first I asked the gate agent to get my checked luggage, if possible. 

An hour later I had a ticket on a flight this afternoon, getting into Wichita at 9:30 p.m. And I now own a $200 voucher from the airline for any domestic flight in the next year. My luggage was waiting for me at the carousel, and Roger came a few minutes later.

Back at the condo, I had lots of time to think.

I'm a firm believer in the sovereignty of God. Nothing is too small or too big for Him to handle. Of course, living as though I believe that truth is many times a challenge. But God makes no mistakes, and somewhere there is a reason why I didn't get to Kansas as planned.

As I have mentioned before, the word the Lord gave me for this year is trust. So I knew it wasn't a mistake that Proverbs 3:5–6 appeared in my quiet time yesterday. Nor was it a mistake that He directed me to put those verses here and on Facebook. I couldn't get away from those verses.

God wants my full, unquestioning trust in every area of my life. He wants me to plunge deep into His promises (Romans 4, The Message), never doubting that He has my best in m ind. I don't understand why He didn't want me to get to Kansas yesterday. He doesn't have to share with me His reasons. He just wants me to trust Him . . . in everything.

I'm to trust Him knowing He always has my best in mind. He is teaching me, step by step, how to trust Him fully, unquestioningly, constantly listening for His voice in everything. He wants me to follow Him closely, not lagging behind asking a bunch of skeptical, whiny questions that reveal my lack of faith in His sovereignty, goodness, and love. He doesn't want to look back and see me fainting by the way unsure of my ability to do what He's already said He would enable be to do. He doesn't want me to rush ahead of Him, confident that I know best how He wants to accomplish His purposes in and through me. 

All He wants is my complete, constant trust. 

And then this morning He gave me today's verses: "By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision--you'll see it yet!" (Philippians 3:13–15 The Message)

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