I’m stuck in Madrid.
Same nightmare, just backwards this time… with even less time in between. I could have wept when I arrived at my gate, panting from the weight of my carry-ons (and my out-of-shapedness) only to find the gate completely deserted.
But God works in mysterious ways, you know. Just because that phrase is cliché doesn’t make it untrue.
While I was stressing that my London-Madrid flight was running late and I would have even less than the allotted 50 minutes to get through border patrol and change terminals, I pretty sure God was making my flight late on purpose. “I got this,” I think I heard Him say while I was in at least 4 lines deep at passport control.
“Okay, God. You got this.”
But even if I had heard His voice, I wasn’t really sure what He “got.” So I still ran and I almost let myself plop down and sob at that empty gate at the tippy-tip of that long terminal.
God’s sovereignty is like that. We don’t know what He’s up to, but we can trust that He knows and that what He does is good.
Not that I was thinking lofty thoughts when I walked up to Iberia’s information desk, alone and sad between that rock and hard place.
God was good to me. Because my London flight had arrived late, I was offered 3 meals and a hotel, something that may end up being more needed than rushing home and diving into life. If my flight hadn’t been late (because I almost assuredly would have missed the connecting flight anyway), it would have been another ticket purchase and nighty-night on the grimy airport floor.
But God would have been good there too. Just as good as He is after a real shower and a real pillow.
Why is that so hard to remember?
Do you ever wonder if Jesus was tempted to forget His Father’s goodness in light of His personal pain? He was born fragile into a hostile society. He had to learn about a world He had created, grow up among people He had formed, and probably even misspell words He gave us breath to pronounce. And He dedicated His ministry to many who eventually turned their backs on Him.
Just before His crucifixion, didn’t He cry, “Let this cup pass from me”?
Last summer, as we watched a friend suffer from cancer, we prayed with her that the cup would pass. It didn’t.
Her cry for relief wasn’t a cry of doubt. Like Jesus, she was able to say, “Nevertheless, Your will be done.” Like Jesus, she submitted to the Father’s sovereignty.
“Sovereignty” and “submission” don’t sound like such big words after a hot shower and a clean bed, but what about right there in the middle of chemo? In the agony of dying for a world that hates you? Or just feeling weepy at a deserted airport gate?
Is my concept of God’s goodness too fragile, too willing to be broken? Is it just a churchy facade for a secular ideology?
This is getting too heavy for my tired brain. So I’ll wrap this up by saying that I was challenged by my own circumstances today: Do I really believe God is good all of the time?
Okay, that’s all. Next time, I’ll try to write about Christmas or my time in the States instead of just the dreadful little airport bookends of my trip!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!