Several years ago, I was overjoyed when everything fell into place at the last moment, allowing me to attend a national prayer gathering. It was unusual for me to be dashing around as I prefer to plan way ahead. In less than 48 hours before the event began, I found a great seat sale, arranged for help at the airport in case I needed it, and I found a ride to and from my local airport. To top it all off, upon my arrival at check-in, a helpful agent placed me on a better flight that allowed me to travel with friends who were attending the same event!
As soon as I arrived in Winnipeg, I discovered a wrench in my plans. The retreat centre was about two hours away, and I had scheduled a 6:30 AM return flight! I would have to find a hotel room and catch a ride to the city the night before my flight, or I would have to find someone who was willing to leave the retreat centre at 3:00 AM. I tried to change flights, but the penalty fee was exorbitant.
I could only give the situation to the Lord, trusting Him to see me through. As I did so, a friend volunteered to drop me off at the airport on her way to another city.
The gathering was as I expected – challenging, exhilarating, stretching, and exhausting. The worship was intense, intimate, and powerful. God charged us to stay vigilant, awake, and ready.
As the days progressed, I struggled. I was uncomfortable and confused. I felt misunderstood. I knew my feelings were unfounded. No one had rejected me; I was just as loved by my friends as I always had been. And yet, I was increasingly miserable.
I developed blisters as I decided not to wear my orthopedic braces on the trip, opting for sneakers instead. As a result of my foolishness, I also experienced considerable muscular pain. I just wanted to go home. I needed time by myself; I needed time alone with God. I had many questions.
I was exhausted when we left the retreat centre at 3:30 AM. Another friend came along for the ride. We had all travelled extensively. We were all capable of reading maps and following directions, and yet we became hopelessly lost. We soon felt compelled to pray as we drove, asking God’s favour and blessings to be poured out over the city. Although I missed my flight, I somehow was not upset.
The airline found a later flight for me. By pure happenstance, I spotted my brother walking down the airport’s concourse. He was in town to visit his fiancée. One of my travelling companions knew my brother, and so it was a grand reunion. I also had the opportunity to meet my future sister-in-law. We had a quick visit before everyone went on their way. I was content to wait for my flight; a few hours delay was nothing, and a little sacrifice was worth the blessing.
Upon arrival at my gate, I was dismayed to find that my flight was cancelled. By now, my fatigue factor was reaching critical mass. I limped my way across the airport back to the ticket counter only to be told that there were no flights available until the next day. I had no place to stay, and I couldn’t afford a hotel room. I had to get a flight out!
The ticket agent frantically searched and found a flight for me. Unfortunately, it would take me far out of my way. I wouldn’t arrive home until midnight. Weather delays pushed my flight back even further. I put on a brave face. In reality, I was hungry and tired; and I was in intense physical and emotional pain. I wasn’t feeling the blessing anymore.
I stumbled into my apartment at 1:30 AM. All I wanted to do was to pull the covers over my head and sleep for a week. However, I still needed to send out the Daily Christian Quote. Although I had chosen the quote in advance, I still needed to load it into an email and send it off to my subscribers. Wearily, I stumbled to my computer and pulled up the quote. As I read it, I could only laugh.
“I had the choice to either grow up and find God in the situation or become bitter. I chose to find God. And I experienced freedom like I never knew before.” Heather Mercer
Visitors to the Daily Christian Quote website often tell me how God uses a particular quote to speak to a specific issue they are facing. That day, it was my turn to hear from the Lord through a something written by someone I had never met. I had a choice; I could grow up and find God in my exhaustion and confusion, or I could become bitter. I chose to trust God.
How do you discipline your heart and mind when you face obstacles and disappointments? How do you guard your heart against resentment and bitterness when things don’t go as planned?
Here are some Bible verses that remind me that it’s not always all about me. As the saying goes, ‘Life happens.’ It is how we respond to life’s hiccups that will determine how we respond to the mountains.
1 Corinthians 13:5 – “It [love] does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.”
Proverbs 16:32 (NLT) – “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
It is easy to run off at the mouth when we are discouraged or frustrated. Having the following verse in our back pocket will help us to be still as we listen to the Lord for new directions when we find our day not going precisely as planned.
James 1:19b – ” Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
If you are an overplanner like me, this is another handy verse to keep on hand.
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) – “We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.
If frustration and anger bubble up when you are tired, frustrated, unsure, or disappointed, I encourage you to do a word study on patience and trust. Don’t be ashamed to pick up a book on anger management and coping skills. Ask trusted friends and loved ones to hold you accountable. We cannot control frustrating circumstances, but Scripture charges us to be disciplined in our responses to those circumstances.
All Bible verses, unless otherwise attributed, are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
Until Next Week
©2017 Katherine Walden
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