Delays and such . . .

Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?
— Job 2:10 CSB

Mama said there would be days like this.

Actually, my mama never said that, but the Shirelles mama did. Apparently, plenty of times.

Shannan and I were on our way to Manchester yesterday; a time to connect with educational and church planting partners. At least I thought we were.

I booked a 3:07 p.m. flight out of Fort Lauderdale. A 6:00 p.m. arrival to JFK to meet our 10:00 p.m. flight across the pond -- that's plenty of time.

I thought it was.

The first sign of a Groundhog Day of delays started at 12:52 p.m. Our 3:07 was pushed back to 3:45. No worries. We have plenty of time.

Not so.

3:45 p.m. came and went. About 4:00 p.m. we began to board. Then our carrier informed us the new departure time was 4:20 p.m.

I'm doing the math. No sweat. We'll still make it. We have plenty of time.

Then the flight was pushed back to 5:15, then 5:30, then 5:50, then 6:05, then 7:00. I'm not making this up. My phone was sending a steady stream of consciousness with one theme: Delay.

"We have plenty of time," turned into "We're running out of time," which morphed into "There is no way we can make it!"

About an hour and a half into our delay INSIDE the plane, I put on my Travel Agent hat. I was working my phone and Shannan's in an effort to put some wind beneath our wings. It wasn't happening. Multiple phone calls to the Manchester carrier, private huddles with flight attendants, and a serious one-on-one with the airline's booking agent and it was obvious -- we were not going to get to JFK in time.

We deplaned.

I'd like to say our misadventure ended there. It did not. We had to cancel and re-book offsite parking, a flight to JFK, and a second flight to Manchester.

Each of those initial calls was met with a recorded message. Here's the first one:

Please continue to hold. An agent will be right with you momentarily.

This message came with a beautiful piano concerto behind it, but after 28 minutes of

Please continue to hold. An agent will be right with you momentarily.

I wanted to yell, "LIAR! It's a good thing I was not code blue. I'd be a dead man."

Then I contacted the parking company. Here's their online message of comfort. It came with a complimentary background symphony:

Please continue to hold.
An agent will be with you momentarily.

I counted that line seventeen times during the ensuing wait. Yes, I am the kind of person who does that sort of thing. I have the paper with all the scratch marks on it to prove it.

Finally, about 9:00 p.m. last night we had things all straightened out. That's when I tried to put out a devotional. Those who read my ramblings know that I've been silent of late. Part of the reason is ongoing challenges with my online delivery service. Multiple minutes devoted to HELP articles yielded no help. I sent an email to their staff and hoped for the best. That's when I went out to the garage and noticed water on the floor near the AC. Not good.

I went to bed with soaring thoughts of a flight to Manchester and the possibility of soaring temperatures in the house.

These sorts of challenges can get anyone wondering . . .

  • Why me?
  • Is God upset with me?
  • Did I do something wrong?
  • Should I not be on this trip?
  • What's my problem?

The more I think these kinds of thoughts the more I realize how self-absorbed I can be. The world does not revolve around me.

Then Job's words rose up in my subconscious the way distant thunder thunders across the horizon:

Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?

God doesn't owe me. Following Jesus is not a first class ticket to the good life. 

The more I reflected on our dance of delays the more I realized:

  • The world does not revolve around me. As of today I am 1 of 7,522,696, 691 (and counting).
  • My challenges (or lack thereof) do not mean I am more or less holy.
  • God is still God no matter how my day goes.
  • Adversity (one of Jesus' promises) comes packaged in many ways.
  • The recipe of life contains one cup of firmly packed Mystery.

So here we are, sitting in the International terminal at JFK. It's 8:29 p.m. Our re-booked flight to Manchester boards in 30 minutes. It looks like it is going to be on time.

We'll take that good from God, and the delays too.