Proverbs 3:5-6 TPT
Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make.
In my blog post God’s creation, https://lindawilsonwriting.com/2018/10/26/gods-creation/, I told you I would share a bit about the people we met on the journey to the Oregon Coast. It’s almost Thanksgiving and I can’t think of another way that would be fitting to give thanks to God except to write of His faithfulness as He led the way for us on this trip and the people that made an impact.
I’ll pick up the story as we sat on the airplane waiting to get clearance from SeaTac. Forty-five minutes is a long time to wait, especially since seats are uncomfortable. Any restroom visit is a lesson in acrobatics, as we must navigate our way through the arms and legs of the people sitting next to us. If you fly often, you get used to it, but for a first or even a second time flier, it can be daunting. Our seats were not together so both mom and I had strangers on either side of us. We waited patiently for them to get us to our destination and anytime you meet a stranger there can be this strange, awkward silence with the person next to you. At least until one of you says something and then we can both return to what we were doing. Sometimes the person next to you will have on their noise cancelling headphones which is a good sign that they don’t want to be disturbed which was the case of the gentleman I sat next to. Does this sound familiar to you fliers out there?
If we leave the story right there it would seem like the decision we made to fly when we could have driven was a waste of time and we made the wrong decision. However, my mom and I knew this was what we were supposed to do so It wasn’t a mistake. How many times have you found yourself in the process of doing what you know to be the right thing, and instead of smooth sailing you encounter turbulence? Why is the turbulence there when you know this is the right thing? Is it because you didn’t pray enough? Is it because you didn’t listen correctly? Or could it possibly be that in the middle of the storm God wants us to understand we can rely on Him.
I have no doubt that all we encountered on the trip was designed to stretch us out of our comfort zone. It was designed to show us that even when we plan with details, there are all kinds of things that can happen. When we trust God and ask for help in the middle of any plan gone awry, He can show us the way to go.
The man I was seated next to played games on his phone for a while and we didn’t really have any conversation until later in the flight, except when he noticed my mom and I had been seated apart and asked me if I wanted to switch seats with him. Mom and I were in the same row, so I just told him no, but thanked him for the offer. Later in the flight, he looked at me and we just started talking. He was only 29, but truthfully, he reminded me of my son and I was at ease with him. We continued our conversation and got to know each other a little bit. I found out he was in a high stress job and had recently moved to Boise from California. He had only been in the area for a little over a year. I was able to encourage him about some of the decisions he was making and offered to pray for him in this transition time. He told me when he was younger, he had gone on mission trips for his church prior to working at this job and had traveled all over the world.
There was a pause in the conversation and he reached over and pointed to the window. When I looked, I wasn’t sure what I was seeing. I asked him what it was, and he said, “Mount Rainier.” I got a great picture of Mount Rainier from the airplane window when I wouldn’t have even known where it was. When we got to Seattle, we were unfamiliar with the airport and he gave me directions on how to get to my next flight if it was in another concourse. I was grateful for those instructions since we had to navigate our way several times to different areas of the airport.
You might be thinking, “With all the trouble you had, how do you know that you didn’t make a mistake?” I will tell you there was a certainty inside, a certainty that this was what we were supposed to do. The circumstances we faced didn’t make the knowing any less true. We were able to keep our joy even as we watched our flight taxi off without us. There was an exchange that took place on the first phase of the trip. I was able to encourage a young man to follow his heart as he nurtured the idea of his own business to build a future that would allow him to include a wife and family. As he follows his heart, the money will be there as he puts his time into doing what will bring him what he really wants. I can pray for him as the Lord leads me whether I see him again or not.
- I met someone I was able to encourage, and he put me at ease because he reminded me of my son. In return, I received instructions I didn’t have and a great picture that I really like. For every negative circumstance that came (delayed flight, missed connection) something positive came out of the experience.
I’m not saying that you ignore the negative experiences, but you can choose to focus on what you learned from them instead.
When we went to re-book our flights, it meant we had a five (5) hour lay-over in SeaTac airport. We wandered around the airport, got some lunch, and did a little people watching. What good came out of that? As we were watching other travelers, we noticed some of the luggage they were using had 4 wheels and didn’t have to be pulled from behind. We decided before we take our trip to Ireland, we will get us some new luggage.
- In waiting and observing, whether God or people, we can learn something new and beneficial that helps us along the way.
As we waited to catch our flight to Eugene, a lady struck up a conversation with us. We listened to her story. I won’t go in to too much detail since it is her story to tell but she had lost her husband the previous year and was traveling alone. She was on her way to Newport as well, but what I found interesting was if we had made the connecting flight, she would have been sitting on the same row with us. We found out she and her husband had been world travelers when he was alive. They had been to Ireland, so she gave us some great ideas on how to go when we decide it is time to go.
During that conversation, another gentleman approached us and asked if we had come in from Boise earlier in the morning. We said “Yes, we did.” We all had a great laugh about the delay, rescheduled flights and the time spent waiting. Many people around us kept looking at us funny because we were all laughing and having a good time. He was drawn to the fact that we handled the situation with laughter instead of anger, peace instead of worry and turmoil.
- The light you carry inside is visible to others, let it shine. Laughter is contagious!
I am a planner, I like to know where I am going and have an idea of how to get there so I look things up in advance. All of that is well and good, but in this instance, it didn’t do us much good. The instructions I got from a very well-known search engine were not accurate. My mom commented that she now knew why people got stranded when going places. All it takes is for the instructions to be off just a little bit and it impacts how you get someplace or whether you get there at all.
We left the airport in Eugene and tried to follow the directions I had. Let me tell you, in that moment there was more than a little frustration on my part. I can remember speaking out loud, “I don’t have a problem asking for help.” There were gas stations on 2 corners but for reasons I didn’t quite understand at the time, I found myself in the Big Lots parking lot and asking a gentleman for directions. He asked me where I was headed and read the directions I had researched. He looked at my mom and I and said, “This is a horrible way to go.” I asked him if he could give me directions. He said, “If my mom, my sister or my grandmother were traveling to your destination, this is the way I would tell them to go.” We followed his directions and made our way to Newport with no mishaps. Again, you might ask, “If your steps are ordered during this trip why wouldn’t your directions have worked or why didn’t you notice they were off?” I don’t know if it was how I researched the directions, or if they were wrong but it doesn’t really matter.
In the middle of stuff that can go wrong, God is still able to get us the information we need to correct our course. When we don’t ask for help from him or from others when we need it, we lose out on the exchange that takes place which allows us to see God’s hand at work in us and around us. It didn’t make sense for me to pull into the parking lot and ask for directions from the person getting carts. My plan was to go into the store and ask someone. Instead I found myself directing the question to him. God works in us, through us, and around us, whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not.
- My plan is always subject to change with God. His course is better than mine.
There were so many instances of simply following God’s lead and discovering something wonderful on the other side:
- There has been a long-time desire to see the whales at Depot Bay and they were there and visible to us for several hours the day we went.
- We were able to see the sea lions in the Historic Bay Front when we couldn’t see them from the Sea Lion Caves outside of Florence.
- The whale spouts could be seen from our hotel room.
- The sunrise at the start of our day and the sunsets to end the day.
I’ve learned so much of our life with God is timing. If we follow the clues that He leaves for us along the way, we will find ourselves in the right place at the right time. God is constantly feeding us information and direction through prompting, ideas, etc., but we need to develop our ability to listen.
One or two people can make an impact in a community, no matter where they happen to be. As believers in Christ, we must come to a place in our lives where we stop being afraid of people. Of course, we always use wisdom when someone is placed in our path the way these people were with us, but we must trust God and be the light that God called us to be in this world. Whether we are the ones receiving the light or the ones giving it, the light of Christ in all of us empowers and inspires.
When we look outward instead of being inward focused, we gain understanding that He guides us every step of the way. If we look for the negative, it can always be found. However, if in the negative we look for the leading of God we can keep our joy. The next time you plan a trip and things seem to go a little haywire, stop. Look for the positive and rejoice in it then ask Him for the next step. Recognize the negative but be determined not to allow it to be the main area of focus.