We Make Plans – God Has Different Plans
I felt so sure that once I got on the plane in Calgary, that everything would go smoothly until I reached my destination of Madang, Papua New Guinea. Who would have guessed that a) the flight crew were late coming in from Vancouver to start up our plane; b) that a snow storm would happen the moment we sat down in the plane (which meant a delay of de-icing), and c) more unusual (actually weird) was the fact that the flight attendants could not agree for 45 minutes whether there were 81 or 82 passengers on the plane (that delayed us at least 45 minutes)
So… I missed my connection to the Qantas long flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane, Australia. Suddenly I was faced with making rapid changes and new arrangements to get new flights and some lodgings booked in both Brisbane and Cairns down under. I have to admit that I let the situation get the best of me for a while as I complained, and then worried about how this would all get worked out. I took my eyes off of Jesus for a short while, and I found fear and anxiety replaced my normal peace of God in my heart.
There are a number of things that I have realized, now that I have time to reflect on all that happened. I hope I can express well in words what I want to pass on to others of how we who are Christians can better handle difficult situations that can confront us in life. Let’s look then at how I did react, and how I could have reacted to the situation.
When I first booked all my flights, to get me from Canada to Papua New Guinea, one of my first concerns was to try to save money. Now there is nothing wrong with being wise stewards of our money. Jesus gave many teachings and illustrations on this topic. But I added some pride and self-reliance along with my sense of “frugality”.
It is true that my health has been much better in the past six months, and this in part led me to think that I could do the 30 hour trip from Calgary to Port Moresby, PNG in one long day of traveling. I realize now that I was kind of proud of myself that I was going to do the long haul on my new found strength, and had not really asked the Lord about the wisdom of this.
And then, as we sat and waited and waited on the plane in Calgary, ready for take-off, I found I got more and more anxious about the possibility of missing my next plane. “All my efforts of my planning and scheduling will get ruined,” I thought. We did make it to Los Angeles, but with all the effort of people getting me my wheelchair assistance from one terminal to the other, I arrived 15 minutes after they closed the check-in desk, even though the plane had not left yet.
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So it was when I finally recognized that I was trying so hard to make my plans and solve this crisis in my own strength that I gave the situation over to the Lord. And then things actually did start to fall into place. I was going to be okay from LA to Brisbane as Qantas just switched my ticket to the next night. And I was able to book my Australia to PNG flights with air miles, so that I paid only 1/10th of what a new ticket would cost. And with Jill’s help, I was able to get bookings as two nice hotels in Brisbane and then Cairns.
The neatest part was that some good friends from a very long time ago heard about my situation and they emailed me to let me know they could pick me up at the airport in Brisbane and take care of me for a few hours until I could check in at the hotel. That was very special, seeing as I might have had to wait four hours in the hotel lobby until I got a room.
Better yet, we spent those few hours together sharing wonderful stories of how God has taken care of us all over the years. And we shared testimonies of how God has worked through us all to bless other people. What a special time of sharing that was for me, and for them too they told me.
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So now a few questions. Did God create the crisis as a penalty for my independence from Him? I don’t accept that one as that makes God to be a God who punishes people if they step out of line just a little bit. Did Satan and his forces of evil send this “attack” against me? No, I doubt it. But he certainly could be behind me taking my eyes off of Jesus.
Was I supposed to learn something from the situation? Very probably. Or at least I would hope I learn from each situation in life. I do know that God promises us peace in the midst of storms. (And I was forgetting that.) And He promises to bring good out of every situation. (That came true as I spent a wonderful day with dear Christian friends in Brisbane that would not have happened if this crisis had not happened.)
There is more I could say, but this gives you an idea of how my last couple of days have gone. More importantly, it tells you that I am doing okay and God is taking care of me and the various details of rearranging my trip to PNG. As Scriptures says, I made plans, but God had better plans.
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