My mom and I just returned from a cruise in Northern Europe. We had been planning and dreaming and booking day tours and researching cities and getting REALLY EXCITED for months.
I was to fly out of Toronto on a Thursday night, meet up with her in Chicago and fly over to Copenhagen together that same night where we would then have a day to explore the city before leaving on our cruise on Saturday. However, it was a tight connection time between my flights, and thanks to an unexplained hour long wait on the runway at Pearson, I was late for the next flight. I was disappointed but figured we would get another flight out, no problem.
OYE. It was a problem.
The customer service (ahem) lady we dealt with informed us that she could not get us in to Copenhagen until SUNDAY. Sorry, but that’s the best she could do.
In my nicest I’m-a-Jesus-lover-but-still-really-upset-voice, “Ummm, no, listen, lady, that is not going to work.”
At 2am, after 4 hours, much anxiety and several other representatives later, we closed down the customer service counter but we were finally booked on flights that got us to the cruise with less than an hour to spare.
Oh, but my bag decided it was going to have its own sort of adventure and went AWOL.
FOR FIVE DAYS.
(I don’t think I have to say much more about this, right? You just groaned out loud, right? You just imagined trying to outfit yourself for your cruise from the cruise gift shop, right? Enough said.)
We had an absolutely fantastic time on our cruise and in the countries we visited…Germany, Russia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Oh, the history, the cultures, the food! Oh, the castles, cathedrals, and cobblestoned streets! Not to mention that being with my mom is one of my most favorite things, and that not having to make and clean up breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family for 12 days is a vacation all by itself.
But, what I’ve realized is this…the best stories we have to tell from our trip are of all the moments that didn’t go as planned and the ones we never could have planned for…the hilarious photos we took of each other, the random people we met, the Ballet-night debacle, the Russian meatloaf, the Swedish marathon, and the Helsinki port-o-potty to name a few. Oh, and the shopping I will get reimbursed for because of the luggage delay, WAHOO!
And, it’s got me to thinking that life is a lot like this too.
The best stories of God at work are usually the ones where He is moving in unexpected ways.
Sometimes it’s in the delay. Remember Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11? It was obvious to everyone but Jesus that he was late…unacceptably, unforgivably late. Yet Jesus tells the disciples that he was glad that he wasn’t there, so that their belief would increase. The long-dead being brought back to life does tend to increase the faith level.
Sometimes it’s in the change of plans. Remember young Mary receiving the news that she has been chosen to bear the Son of God? (Luke 1) She had certainly not signed up for this, and yet she embraced this radical life-detour.
Sometimes it’s in the inconvenience. Sometimes it’s in the awkward moments. Sometimes it’s those blessings-in-disguise. But always, always, Jesus is trying to get us to see from His perspective.
I want to encourage you today that if the journey you’re on right now looks different than what you think it should look like, don’t lose heart. I’m pretty sure if you look hard enough, you will find joy ready to burst onto the scene….sort of like how I felt on day 5 when my luggage finally arrived.
Travel on, friends. Travel on.