Planes, Canes, and Automobiles

How we respond to life's hiccups will determine how we respond to the mountains.

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 preferred to plan long in advance. 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 found a ride to and from my local airport. To top it all off, a helpful agent placed me on a better flight upon my arrival at check-in, allowing me to travel with friends attending the same event!

As soon as I arrived in Winnipeg, I discovered a wrench in my plans. The retreat centre was two hours from the city, and I had scheduled a 6:30 AM return flight! I would either have to catch a ride to the town the night before my flight and stay at a hotel or find someone 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 expected – challenging, exhilarating, stretching, and exhausting. The worship was intense, intimate, and powerful. God charged us to stay vigilant, awake, and ready.

How we respond to life’s hiccups determines how we respond to the mountains.

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; my friends loved me as they always had. And yet, I was increasingly miserable.

I developed blisters as I decided not to wear my orthopaedic braces on the trip, opting for sneakers. As a result of my foolishness, I 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 knew how to read maps and follow directions. And yet we became hopelessly lost. As we drove, we soon felt compelled to pray, 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. Before my travel companions went on their way, we had a cup of coffee together at the airport. Much to my surprise, I spotted my brother walking down the concourse. He was in town to visit his fiancée. I didn’t know he had a girlfriend, no matter a fiancee!

One of my travelling companions knew my brother, 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. After all, a few hour’s delays were nothing, and a little sacrifice was worth the blessing of meeting a soon-to-be member of the family.

Upon arrival at my gate, I discovered my flight was cancelled. By then, my fatigue factor had reached 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 couldn’t afford a hotel room. I had to get a flight out!

After a frantic search, a flight was found. Unfortunately, it would take me far out of my way. I wouldn’t arrive at my home airport until after midnight. Weather delays pushed my flight back even further. I put on a brave face. In reality, I was hungry and tired; and 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 weeks in advance, I needed to 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 on that particular date. It was my turn to hear from the Lord through something written by someone I had never met. I had a choice: grow up and find God in my exhaustion and confusion or become bitter. I chose to trust God.

Personal Application

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.’ How we respond to life’s hiccups determines how we respond to the mountains we will face.

1 Corinthians 13:5 – “It [love] does not insist on its 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 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.

Until Next Week

©2023 Katherine Walden