I love going places! I love visiting new cities, meeting new people, and I particularly enjoy experiencing new restaurants!
That’s almost exactly the order of my questioning when I’m going to speak, teach, or lead worship at an event. “Tell me about your city. Tell me about your people. Where are we going to eat? BAMM! LET’S GO!”
Anywho, as much as I like to go places, I’m not a huge fan of the travel, and I HATE DELAYS!
When I first started traveling, just the packing itself would drive me crazy. I’ve had my share of missing or misplaced bags, so I try to avoid checking a bag if I can. However, trying to decided what to pack on a three day trip when I’m only taking a carry-on can almost require a word of prophecy. I would start recalling lessons from my mom about making sure I always have plenty of clean underwear. Then I’m making sure my shower gell and toothpaste tubes meet the proper size requirements as to not alert the TSA agents.
Oh yes, the TSA agents!
I really started travelling more frequently right after 9/11. Back then, at the height of the terrorist phobia, if you had brown skin and a beard, TSA would practically meet you at the front door talking about, “excuse me sir, ‘RANDOM’ bag checks.” It started to happen so frequently that I considered simply walking into the airports with my shoes already removed just to save a step; or changing my last name to “Random” so their requests wouldn’t seem so disingenuous.
Then I would have inevitably forgetten about the metal detectors while getting dressed that morning and end up wearing the pair of JNCO’s (yes I said JNCO’s) with the massive pockets and random loose change (or a Gateway computer) that I’d left in there. This would lead to making the metal detector go nuts and having a TSA agent play backhanded pat-a-cake with my mammoth cargo pockets.
The only saving grace was that all these things were within my control.
Over time I have become a more seasoned traveller. I know how to pack, what to wear, and how to get through all the initial airport hoops quickly and efficiently.
However, it is something beyond my control that has drawn my ire…DELAYS!
Having done “everything” I could to ensure my timely departure and arrival to the desired destination, NOW a pleasantly curt lady at the desk wants to tell me that I get to spend the next several hours hovering like a vulture around the open power outlets while becoming far too aquainted with how comfortable this random lady next to me feels about breast feeding in public.
I HATE DELAYS!
Recently, while traveling to Boston, I experienced one such delay. A layover that was supposed to only last 90min lasted close to 6hrs. I had 2 meetings in Boston that had either been delayed or canceled all together as a result of the “adjusted departure time”.
Now, I’ve learned over my years of traveling that NO ONE enjoys delays; especially the airline employees.
Yes, I know that some of them may channel a Barney Fife spirit from time to time, but for the most part they are hard working people doing a thankless job that makes them the recipients of much frustration induced anger. Therefore, when such delays take place, I try my best to breathe, not be a jerk, and speak with the people at the desk with as much grace as I can.
So I went up to the desk and asked what was the cause for the delay. She replied that there was a mechanical issue found on the plane during pre-flight testing and once it has been resolved the flight would be on its way. It was her response the reminded me of another very strong position I hold when it comes to travel.
I hate delays, but I reeeeeally HATE plane crashes!
As much as delays can be an inconvenience or a frustration, I would much rather be inconvenienced due to the plane being evaluated and tested for flight rediness than be one of many casualties in a plane crash because of someone cutting corners to rush the process along.
Even so, delays in our lives can be and often are frustrating.
Have you ever felt that way? Felt as though your life was “delayed” because the thing you thought was going to get you from point A to point B didn’t work out the way it was supposed to.
Or maybe you’re like me and have most often felt like the plane; ready to take off on a grand adventure, exploring new heights, and experiencing new destinations, but at times being grounded longer than expected due to diagnostic checks and repairing internal damage.
I was listening to a podcast the other day by Stephen Furtick (lead pastor of Elevation Church in NC) where he said:
“Nobody likes testing, but everyone likes things that are tested.”
He had earlier quoted one of my favorite prayers and passages from the psalmist David.
23Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
– via www.bible.com
No one get’s on a plane hoping that it will get them halfway to the next stop…or even “mostly” there. Passengers would find zero comfort in hearing the pilot get on the intercom and say, “sorry folks, we’re not quite gonna make the landing, but hey we left on time!”
The goal isn’t even just landing. After all, every plane crash…lands…it’s just usually not the right place and definitely not the right way.
What God has for you to do, where God wants you to go, and who God wants you to love and serve is worth the time and testing required so that you finish strong.
You see, David wasn’t afraid of the testing. He actually embraced it and practically begged for it! He understood that in order to fullfill God’s purposes in his life, his heart and his mind would need to be in right alignment and health. He also, wasn’t just looking short term but desired that God would lead him “in the way everlasting”.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be built, tested, and lead in the way EVERLASTING.
I don’t want to have parts of my soul duct taped together or major character bombs glanced over just to fall apart down the road and leave tons of collateral damage.
So, whether you find yourself delayed or grounded in life or in an airport; embrace the testing.
God isn’t in a rush to just get you “any place”.
God wants you to make it to the right place, in the right way, and at the right time.
Have you been through this kind of season? What are some of the lessons you learned on your “delay”? Are in there right now? What are you learning?