What the Lord has in Store?

20140714_203434I’m waiting in the airport terminal for a Red Eye flight to Houston. It takes off in twelve hours.

That’s right. I arrived five hours ago, but I’m traveling standby and the flights are full.

Is this a joke?

This morning, my Facebook status said: “Going to a She Speaks conference in North Carolina; can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store.”

Is this what the Lord had in store for me?

Not what I imagined. Nor what I desire, but it is what it is.

I always told my kids to make lemonade out of lemons.  Okay, Karen, start squeezing.

I have a Bible, a reading book, a laptop. What more do I need?

But I want to do more than fill empty space, or count down the minutes.

What would the Lord have me learn in this situation?

Patience? Flexibility? Humor?

I’m not laughing.

I arrived three hours early for my flight so I could drive a friend of mine to catch her flight. She’s sipping water now at 35,000 feet. Where’s her faith lesson?

Sorry Lord, my eyes went horizontal.

Normally, when I travel alone, I pray to  view people through God’s eyes so I might offer a word of encouragement.

I ask for ears to hear His voice. Never know when He’s going to impress some truth upon my heart.

In answer to those prayers, I have experienced indescribable God moments that assure me–He’s real and present even in the most absurd situations.

However, I know previous epiphanies don’t mean I’ll witness the Lord in action today.

Perhaps I’ll sit here, idle and killing time, with nothing to show for it. I’ll board the plane at the end of the day, weary and confused.

Really, Lord? Was it necessary for me to miss my flight? I was going to this conference to learn how to speak for you.

My flesh says “such is life.” Bad things happen. If waiting for a Red Eye flight is the worst thing that happens today, no problem.

My heart observes life with an eternal perspective.

I believe that nothing is wasted…not even sitting in an airport terminal for umpteen hours…if it increases my faith or I can be used by God.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1st Thessalonians 5:18

I glance at my fellow road warriors who are waiting on delayed flights. What is their perspective? Does grumbling change a thing?

For me, the bottom line isn’t what happens to me, but how I respond.

Sitting in the airport isn’t my first choice, but while I’m here, I’ll make the best of it.

And ask the Lord to teach me no matter the cost.

Even in this.

What Kinds of People Do You See?

airports,briefcases,businesses,businesswomen,checking the time,communications,gestures,late,metaphors,persons,running late,watching the time,women

I was in the Ladies Room at the San Francisco Airport when I heard someone ask, “Are you okay?”

A woman in her sixties was sprawled on the floor in a bathroom stall. She’d slipped on a puddle, twisted her knee, and smacked her cheek on the commode.

The person left who asked, “Are you okay?”

So I helped the woman stand up. She was dazed and held her bruised cheek.

Are you lightheaded? Are you traveling alone?

I’m alone,” she whimpered. “And I’m worried about my knee.”

I gave her a wet paper towel for her cheek, and held her arm as she limped to her nearby departure gate. When I told the gate attendant what happened and asked for ice to put on the woman’s cheek, she took immediate action. She filed a report, and sent for a paramedic to look at the woman’s knee.

I walked away, glad I had taken the time to assist her.

While I waited for my plane to depart, I smiled at strangers and exchanged pleasantries.

When I sat down in the plane, the woman next to me talked nonstop about her life including some painful memories. Even the flight attendant talked with us, telling us about her parents who had escaped Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the 1970’s.

As our plane landed in Texas, I thought about the people I’d met that day.

Why was I surprised?

When I’d driven to the airport that morning, I’d prayed for God to give me His eyes and ears. I wanted to be available to people rather than isolate myself in a book. Wasn’t it just like the Lord to answer my prayers beyond my expectations.

What and Who am I missing when I rush through my days in my self-absorbed world?

Who knew there were so many friendly people in the world?

Which made me think of this story:

      An old man sat outside the walls of a great city. When travelers approached, they would ask the old man, “What kinds of people live in this city?”

      The old man would answer, “What kind of people live in the place where you came from?”

      If the travelers answered, “Only bad people live in the place where we came from,” the old man would reply, “Continue on; you will find only bad people here.”

      But if the travelers answered, “Good people live in the place where we came from,” then the old man would say, “Enter, for here too, you will find only good people.” ~Author unknown