Major Decisions and Gate Changes
"Your ears will hear a word behind you. 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left." Isaiah 30:21
Recently, I traveled out of town to North Carolina to attend a conference. After the conference was over and my bags were packed, I caught a cab to the airport. Since I am a paranoid planner, I arrived the suggested two hours ahead of time to make sure I smoothly maneuvered my way through security and found my gate. I was dropped off at terminal A but had to walk to terminal E which seemed forever away.
I decided to be stubborn and not check any bags; therefore, I broke a sweat dragging two rather large bags through the airport. Not pretty.
I walked. And walked. And walked.
When I finally saw the glorious E gate, I sighed with relief. I overheard a lady with a small child say to another lady, "We need to walk to A. It's probably not that far."
I laughed and said to them, "It's a good fifteen minute walk from here."
"Really?" they asked.
"Yep." I replied, a little winded.
I knew it was none of my business, but I felt like preparing them for their lengthy and sweaty journey was the right thing to do. After all, they had a toddler in a stroller. Bless them. I silently thanked God that I didn't have a toddler in a stroller in the airport.
I walked onward to find a seat near my gate and rest my arm that felt like it would fall off from dragging all my luggage.
I settled in to an end spot, text my husband that I had made it to my gate, and pulled out a new book I had purchased and began reading.
A lady with a thick Australian accent kept interrupting my reading with announcements about flight delays and gate changes.
People sighed and shifted in their seats. Some that were standing ready to board their flight began looking around the airport for a place to sit down.
Their plane was delayed. I was relieved, "Thank you, God, that it wasn't mine."
I kept checking the bright blue monitor for any changes that might negatively affect me.
I was more than ready to get home to see my husband and boys.
Again, more announcements about delays. This time, the lady informed us that two planes were set to arrive at the same gate at the same time since one was late and one was on time. She instructed us all to be listening for a possible gate change.
I text my husband, "Looks like I may be delayed. Maybe a gate change. :("
He replied, "It has happened to me so many times. Be ready to run in case it's in a different place."
"Great," I thought to myself. I just got here and I may be running back to where I was.
I sat there listening and praying that I would make my flight on time.
It was in that moment that the Holy Spirit spoke to me about how changing direction and gate changes could be compared to what we sometimes walk out in our obedience to him. I felt his gentleness as he used what I was experiencing to illustrate the way he works in our lives.
It's amazingly simple. He gives us a destination and we set out on our way. We walk and walk and walk. We encounter people who need us to encourage them and prepare them for their journey. We have walked from point A to point E, in my case, so we have some insight to offer...if we are willing to share the way.
When we get to where we are going, we have to be prepared for what God has for us. There might be a delay. We may make it to our gate long before the plane is ready to depart. That doesn't mean the plane won't depart. It simply means that waiting is part our the journey.
It might require us settling in to our seat with the good book, the Bible, and with patient anticipation.
And it always requires us to listen. We must listen for his instructions--just like the passengers in the airport that day listened to the Australian lady. We must listen for gate changes. And we must be prepared to pick up our bags and move again and again, if necessary, no matter how tired our arms feel from the perils of our journey.
Thankfully, my flight was unaffected on that particular day. I was at the right gate, waiting on the right plane, that would ultimately deliver me safely to my family at the right time.
Sometimes, we find ourselves in the middle of a transition or a change. We see people all around us seemingly getting to where they are going much faster. Or we can't see how we will ever make it. It can be so hard to know what to do and when to do it. We are continuously trying to make big decisions about our health, our jobs, our families, our churches, and our lives.
It's in these moments of waiting that listening is so important. If you are tuned in daily to the Heavenly Father, he won't let you miss your gate change. And he definitely won't let you miss the flight that will deliver you to where he wants you to be when he wants you to be there.
Trust him. God is faithful. He is good. He is always on time. He is wise. And he is so good at his job.
Heavenly Father, when the winds of change blow us, we trust that your hand guides our sails. We trust that you know what you are doing. We will walk in obedience to you. We will honor you with our lives no matter what you call us to or from. You are such a good, good Father. We can trust you to take care of us. No matter what we are feeling on the inside, we will root ourselves in your word. And your words are yes and amen. Help us to know when to go and when to stay. Direct our paths and let us honor you with all we are. In Jesus' name. Amen