Good things come to those who…
Confession time: airports make me nervous. I probably pat myself down about ten times an hour to check that my passport hasn’t been miraculously pick-pocketed by the invisible airport thief. I don’t think I’m alone in that (or perhaps it’s just me and Michael McIntyre). So, whenever I set foot in an airport, I am usually a little on edge. That sets the scene a little, for the story I am about to tell.
After a few lovely days in the surprisingly-not-grotty Lanzarote, my wife and I arrived at Arrecife Airport, Terminal 2 to take our connecting flights home. Or so we thought. I should have known something was up when we didn’t find a queue to greet us. We walked straight up to the check-in desk and handed over our passports. Tap, tap on the keyboard. Murmurings of Spanish (yes, the Spanish managed to get their hands on this beautiful volcanic Island). Murmurings become mutterings as another colleague is called over. More mutterings. Another colleague joins the conversation. The chattering in Spanish intensifies, as does my jumpiness. Realising the invisible passport thief is the least of my worries, I ask nervously, “Is there a problem?” “Yes, sir, we are trying to solve it.” Great. I begin to pray under my breath. A fourth, then a fifth colleague arrives (and no, I am not exaggerating). Why are half the staff at this terminal trying to check us in? We’re asked to move aside and wait patiently whilst they try to sort it out. Bubbles of anxiety start to rise and pop. My calm and super-relaxed post-holiday frame of mind is slowly evaporating. Twenty-five minutes roll by.
Then, a lady who seems to be the manager says, “My English not good… we can’t check you in… ten minutes between connecting flights not possible.” Ahh! Help! (Thanks Iberia!) She disappears. Twenty minutes later she reappears. She says the earliest flight home we can catch leaves at 3am – 14 hours time – arriving in London a day later than planned! My wife is really worried now. She has to be at work early in the morning to run a conference for lawyers. She calls her manager. Her manager says the conference will be cancelled if she can’t make it back in time.
I politely ask our Spanish friends to try harder. Calls are made, computers checked. I pray some more as patience wars with anxiety in my soul. Eventually the lady smiles and looks up at me, “We can get one of you home today,” she says. “Great, let’s do it,” I say, feigning a smile and wondering what on earth I’ll do in this place, on my own, for the next 14 hours…
Then, suddenly, something changes and her face lights up. Looking jubilant, the lady says, “We can get you both on the flight.” One of her colleagues, with better English explains that they have reserved two seats on a direct flight to Madrid that will connect with our flight to London Heathrow. Yippee!
We’re pointed in the direction of Terminal 1 and told to hurry. We run. Arriving somewhat worse for wear, thinking we are out of the woods, we try to check in, only to discover from the lady who meets us that there is “no guarantee” that we will be allowed on the plane. Here we go again. We have to wait until the flight has closed.
A nervous twenty minutes pass by. But, by God’s grace we make it. We were so grateful to have finally checked in that neither my wife nor I noticed our seat numbers. We rushed through security as fast as we could and entered the plane minutes before its scheduled departure… to discover that we had been upgraded to business class. We had been kept on tenterhooks for almost two hours, worrying, praying, hoping, and all the time God had something better planned for us. Grace!
“Would you like a newspaper?” the stewardess asks after we sit down. “Is it free?” I replied. “Of course.” What a treat. Spacious, comfortable seats, lots of leg room. A three course meal with a glass of champagne, and even a complimentary petite vial containing olive oil and balsamic vinegar – a souvenir for our experience.
Good things come to those who… trust. We can waste so much time worrying, stressing and putting our adrenal glands into overdrive when God has everything taken care of, in better or upgraded ways (beyond our imagination). What a helpful reminder. So, be patient. He has a plan. Things will work out. It may not seem like it, but it will; trust Him. If the house you wanted to buy falls through, trust Him for a better one. If you are made redundant from your work, trust Him for a better job. If life is somewhat rocky at the moment, trust Him to quiet the storm in good time. If the harvest you hoped for has not yet come, wait, like a farmer expectantly waiting for his land to yield a valuable crop: wait, be patient. It will. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” (Proverbs 3:5) or as Eugene Peterson put it, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.”