Stasi and I were flying back from New York’s La Guardia airport last Friday, scheduled for a 10:30am departure. Foul weather grounds our plane, due in from Washington Dulles. First an hour goes by, then two. Okay, we can handle a delay. But at four hours we begin to grow weary. It’s such a roller coaster when hopes are raised every time they announce the plane will be here at such-and-such a time, but then that times goes by and they push it out another hour. At five hours a rainstorm hits New York, and it’s coming down so hard the roof of the old terminal begins to leak. “You folks will want to move; this ceiling tile here sometimes caves in.” A rank odor fills the crowded terminal, now crammed with passengers from many delayed flights. It smells like cat piss. Six hours go by, then seven. After eight hours of waiting the plane finally gets through and we board.
Part of the tension is that we are trying to beat a winter storm into Denver, get home to re-pack and pick up our boys for a 9am departure Saturday morning for the west coast, to see our son Sam.
We take our seats aboard the plane.
Then they hold us at gate for another hour.
Nine hours now we’ve been sitting, waiting, praying. Did I mention we slept poorly all week, and we are utterly exhausted to begin with?
Then the captain comes on to announce, “I have some good news and some bad news.”
The good news is we get to depart. The bad news is that we will have to make an unscheduled fueling stop in Omaha because we can’t take off with a full fuel load. That means another hour and twenty minute delay. Will it never end?
We finally reach Denver. As a sort of last cruelty there is no gate agent there to open the gate, so we simply sit on the plane for another half an hour, freedom so tantalizingly close.
Then we can’t make it home because of weather, and have to stay in a hotel in Denver. After 17 hours of travel we fall into bed so tired we are almost delirious. Sleep sounds like the best thing all day. Certainly the easiest, given our condition. But warfare keeps us up most of the night.
Now, everybody has bad days.
The question is, what do we do with stuff like this?
Well, for one thing, you pray like mad. When a pattern like this begins to develop (and I spared you several other stories just like it from the past two weeks) we must look for the enemy’s hand in it. This is not coincidence. Pray. Ask others to pray for you.
But we did pray, and still had the day from hell. The enemy would like nothing more than to not only make life miserable but to also tie us in knots, to discourage and dishearten. So, we also have to let it go. Just give it all over to God. Find joy in the things he is giving. Perplexed, as Paul said, but not despairing. Struck down, but not destroyed. If we can keep heart, and receive the mercy God is giving, the enemy loses whatever our circumstances might be.
So deliver us, Lord, from every trial that can be shut down. Teach us to pray and not lose heart. And give us the grace and mercy in those we cannot change.