Yesterday day I began my saga of my wearisome travel day from Addis Ababa Ethiopia back home to Tulsa, Oklahoma. It had been an exhilarating experience in Ethiopia. Twenty-six people had come to know the Lord, and my only assignment had been to watch God at work all around me. I was filled with the joy of the Lord as my friends dropped me off at the Bole airport in Addis. We had just finished witnessing one of our boys getting baptized. It was now 10:30 at night in Ethiopia which made it 1:30 pm in Tulsa. I board the plane for the 17 hour return trip and landed at 8:00 am the next morning. As I already mentioned, my flight out of Dulles was delayed causing me to miss my 2:00 pm flight out of DFW. So now I am already 26 hours into my journey home. Tears are brimming in my eyes. My feet are swelled like an elephant, and I really didn’t think I had it in me to walk to another gate. Guess what I did? I sat down, took a deep breath and called my husband. The joy I had once felt at the beginning of this journey home was beginning to be clouded by weariness and frustration.
Kevin is my go to guy. We tease each other. I like to get us into crazy and he has the uncanny ability to get me out of crazy. I collect myself. I hold back my tears and I try to act like a big girl. “Kevin,” my voice sounded fake, “I missed my plane.” I tried to sound peaceful, but I knew I wasn’t fooling him. “Let me see what I can do and I will call you right back.” He spoke to the airlines with the patience of Job. They booked me on the next flight out which was 4:00. That flight was scheduled to take off 10 gates down from where I sat. “I can do this. I can walk ten more gates,” I mustered up all the energy I had left. When I arrived at that gate again I saw the dreaded word, “Delayed.” I know I didn’t just read that word. A tear trickled down my cheek. “I really want to go home,” my heart was screaming inside of me. Minute by minute clicked away. Every 15 minutes I would check the board, then once again I saw my flight pushed back another 30 minutes. I felt sick. Despair was threatening to choke me. Just as I was beginning to rally myself and accept my fate, I saw the worst traveling word ever, “Cancelled!” My flight home was cancelled because a there was a hole in some thing a ma chig in the engine. Now I realize that is an ominous situation, and I really wouldn’t want to fly in an airplane with a hole in its engine, but I really wanted to get home. It was now 6:00 pm Oklahoma time and I had been traveling for 29 hours.
Again, I called Kevin. This time I didn’t even try to be a big brave girl. I let the tears fall and I let my voice crack. He got me on the eight oclock flight and then just for good measure he booked me on the 11:30 flight in case this one fell through. I walk back the ten gates I started from only to learn this plane was out of commission because a seat was broken. “C’mon man” Your kidding me. I felt the world was out to get me. I prayed and called my husband. The airlines sent another plane to take this weary traveler home. I had to walk another six gates to get to it. Those last steps hurt because of my swollen feet, but I wasn’t going to let that stand in my way. I was going home.
I landed at midnight Oklahoma time. I had travelled 35 hours to get home but I made it. I hugged my husband, slept in my bed and the next day I spent time with my family. God is good.
Absurdity right. Some may even say I stretched the truth. Truly, I kid you not. I was delayed three times with two cancellations. You may ask me, “Will you travel back?” “Yes Sir!” To see all the Lord can do is priceless.
But life is like that sometimes isn’t it. Sometimes we get caught up in the absurdity of it all. We get twirled around like we were being lifted up in a tornado. We get motion sickness. We get swollen feet. We face cancellations and delays, but through it all Jesus is with us. Our enemy the devil wants nothing more than to steal our joy. Jesus said it best in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief came to cancel all that God had done in my life, but Jesus is now and always will be, “Emmanuel – God with us.” “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us)” Matthew 1:23.
I was frustrated and weary on my journey home. At times those feelings shrouded the Presence of God as He travelled with me. That’s what feelings do sometimes, but thank God, my feelings don’t negate the fact that God sent His Only Son into this world. Jesus is Emmanuel – God with us. Jesus is God with us. He is always with us even when we don’t feel as if He is.