Travel Travails, Part 2

We live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

If you thought my travel troubles going to Colorado were bad (described in agonizing detail in last week’s column), that wasn’t even half of it. While the trip out took 17 hours, getting home took twice as long, thanks to another snowstorm. 

My mood soured even before I left Colorado Springs. Waiting at the gate, I squirmed in my seat, watching the morning’s blue sky disappear and the previous day’s blowing snow return. The time for boarding came, but the plane to Denver still hadn’t arrived. Due to the nearly 4-hour delay and the weather chaos heading east, my flight itinerary was adjusted. 

And I’d prayed for two months for good travel weather. I texted my husband, “What good is prayer?”

After an 8-hour wait in Denver, I finally boarded the flight to DC at 1 a.m. Three sleepless hours later, we landed at Dulles, where I waited 12 hours for my flight to Johnstown, and where I acquired a new skill—snoozing in an airport. 

The morning stretched into afternoon, and the snow changed to sleet, then rain. I nervously watched the flight information board, expecting this final flight to be delayed like all the others on this trip. But—hooray!—we took off only 45 minutes after we were supposed to. One stop in Altoona, then on to Johnstown. Almost home! However, the light snow in Altoona wasn’t light in Johnstown. The last leg of my troubled trip was cancelled. 

But my travails weren’t over. My luggage was missing, and the one of the two taxis summoned to ferry us to Johnstown—the one I was in—almost broke down before we even left Altoona. The driver, however, pushed on, even though the oil pressure gauge and check engine lights warned of impending trouble. Lord, please don’t let the engine blow up. I wasn’t mad at God any longer. I just wanted to get home.

The closer we got to Johnstown, the more the weather deteriorated. Ice pellets rapped against the windows, road cinders hit the doors like a million bullets, and the tires struggled to grip the icy ramp off the four-lane to the airport. Still the driver sped on. Lord, just get us to the airport in one piece.

Within sight of the airport, the taxi in front of us spun out into the deep snow along the bank. Our taxi made it to the airport without incident, and my son came to fetch me, 24 hours later than planned. After a good night’s sleep, I drove home. My luggage arrived that evening.

After all that prayer . . . 

Did my travel travails mean God didn’t answer? That He didn’t care? That He really isn’t in control? 

What it comes down to is simply faith. And mine faltered. Big time. And that pricked my pride. I’d thought of myself as a person with a rock-solid faith, but when a time of testing came—and an insignificant time of testing at that—I huffed and puffed and acted like a spoiled child not getting her own way. 

In her Bible study Living Beyond Yourself, Beth Moore describes two kinds of faith: a roller coaster faith based on what God does, and a rock-solid faith based on what God is

I know what kind I need. What about you?  

When life goes awry, my prayers go unanswered, and Heaven is silent, remind me, Lord, that my faith shouldn’t be in what You do, but in what You are—an unchanging, sovereign God whose grace and love are exceedingly abundantly above all that I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Amen.

Read and reflect on Hebrews 11; Isaiah 55:8–9.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Travel Travails, Part 1

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us. —Philippians 3:13,14 NLT

It was a trip like no other. Three flights, three delays. It took seventeen hours to get from Johnstown, Pa., to Manitou Springs, Colo., where I would spend five days with my fiction writing class, learning from the masters. But I had to get there first.

Knowing how fickle western Pennsylvania weather could be in March, although I really thought winter would be well on its way by then, and knowing how unpredictable the airline flight schedules are, I booked my trip in early January for Tuesday, March 19, allowing myself an entire day for travel. I was to leave Johnstown at 6:30 a.m. (Eastern Time) and arrive in Colorado Springs 12:20 p.m. (Mountain Time). The first meeting wasn’t until 6 p.m. Wednesday, giving me time to rest from the trip and stroll the streets of the delightful little town at the base of Pikes Peak.

That was the plan.

Since when do plans go according to plan?

Especially when it comes to airline schedules.

Especially when it comes to weather—in March no less.

Sunday morning before the trip I checked the forecast: A snowstorm was in the offing for the next day. “God, how can you do this to me?” I groaned. “I’ve prayed for good travel weather for two months!”

So I packed and headed for my son’s house in Johnstown a day early to beat the storm. Tuesday morning he dropped me off at the airport, where I waited five hours for the ice to melt off the runway. Because I missed the connecting flight from DC to Denver, the airlines put me on a later flight, which was held up because – get this – a bathroom door on the plane was broken and we couldn’t take off until it was fixed.

“It’s going to be tight,” I texted my husband, referring to the connecting flight in Denver to Colorado Springs. 

It was. When I got to Denver, I ran to the gate where I was sure everyone had already boarded. I’d made it! They started boarding within five minutes. But the walk from the terminal to the actual gate where the plane waited was long. I was feeling the effects of the extended travel day and the anxiety that comes with it. When I snapped my seat belt on, I sighed with relief. 

Too soon. The captain emerged from the cockpit. We had to deplane. Our broken aircraft had to be replaced. An hour later, I made the long trek back to the gate, my briefcase getting heavier by the second. But it was the wrong gate. I retraced my steps, muttering loudly and regretting my “a time to laugh” t-shirt.

We landed in Colorado Springs a little before 9 p.m., and a not-so-cheap taxi ferried me to my hotel, where I arrived, worse for the wear, nine hours after I was supposed to. A porter relieved me of my luggage and showed me to my room. I stepped in – and gasped in delight: The room came with a gas fireplace, spa tub (which I used that night), king-size bed (which I’d have all to myself), and heated toilet seat! 

It was a rough trip, but the destination was worth all the hassle.

Just like life—the journey is filled with delays, hassles, heavy burdens, missed connections, disappointments, and frustrations. Your itinerary is in another’s hands. 

But, oh, what’s waiting for you on the other side! 

When my steps begin to falter and my attitude gets sour, Lord, remind me of my final stop. Amen.

 Read and reflect on Revelation 21:1–22:5.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.