I don’t like flying in airplanes. What makes flying even worse for me is when I have to fly in a puddle-jumper. Even worse is flying in a small plane to go somewhere I don’t want to go.
Recently, all of these, and more, happened. I was called to testify in a murder trial in the panhandle of Texas, which is 10 hours away by car. I was a secondary witness in the trial, and had only met the defendant once for less than a minute, but they still wanted me to come just in case they needed me. Of course, I wasn’t looking forward to going, but had to. So, they flew me out of my hometown of College Station to Houston, on the first leg of the trip before I was scheduled to go to the panhandle.
While driving to the airport, I already knew the flight wasn’t going to be fun, tipped off by the thick clouds and driving wind. Going through security, they tossed my shaving cream because it was slightly too large. Then they unpacked my nicely-packed shirts and wrinkled them. No big deal.
I was still dreading the flight during the half-hour delay because of a computer problem and the flight attendant was on her first day and didn’t even know how to close the door of the airplane. We finally took off, but by this time everyone on the plane was miserable, because the air conditioner was not working and it was about 85 onboard and the man to my left was sweating profusely, some of it on me.
After tossing and bouncing for 50 minutes — the entire flight I had the armrest in a death-grip — we landed. Thank goodness, it was all over. Or not yet.
Because we were late taking off, I realized that my connection was going to be tight and after waiting for a shuttle to pick us up and nearly getting lost, I had to run at warp-speed to my gate, which proved to be empty: I missed my flight because of the earlier delay.
I changed my itinerary to get on the next flight, scheduled for 3 1/2 hours later. I then called the prosecutor, who informed me that I didn’t need to come, the plans had changed.
“What? Why did you make me go to Houston?”
“Sorry” was all he could say. At least I could go home, but easier said than done.
There were no more flights back home, so after trying to figure out what to do for 15 minutes, I decided to get a rental car. I found the shuttle to the rental car companies, went to the rental car center, and was told by all of them (after waiting in line several times and doing this for 1/2 an hour) that I couldn’t do a one-way rental to College Station from Houston. Oh, my!
Then I remembered that there is a shuttle van to College Station. So, I got back on the airport shuttle and went to the terminal. But, I was in the wrong terminal. So, I went to the next terminal and finally found someone who knew about the College Station shuttle — but I needed a reservation. They gave me a phone number and I finally got a reservation on my nearly-dead cell phone. But, I had to wait another 2 1/2 hours.
By this time I was very hungry. But the only place to eat was back through security and I couldn’t get through without a plane ticket. I settled for a stale box of popcorn and a bottle of warm water. I then waited for the shuttle, hungry and tired.
I finally got on the shuttle and when I got back to town (about 12 hours from when I started) I learned that the shuttle doesn’t take credit cards and I had no cash. Uh, oh. Luckily the driver trusted me to mail a check to him. I got 4 hours of sleep and had the opportunity to attend the funeral that I wanted to go to all along.
I learned a lot that day because, through every minor trial, God kept me patient and calm. Why? I constantly prayed my way through the day and relied on the promises found in Scripture. This was an opportunity for me to practice what I have been preaching about how we are called to live out God’s promises. Here was one of the many promises which assured me that God was with me through it all.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6.
I was tempted to get frustrated, angry, and impatient. But God promised that he would always be with me to guide me and show me good, even out of that miserable day and that is exactly what he did — He never left me alone in my struggles.
God always tells the truth and on that I can rely and so can you.