No fog in Fresno, so the flight to Phoenix was on time and smooth. Half-full plane so a seat between me and my row-mate. Nice woman. We chatted. An hour and a bit later, we landed. (I was so proud of that southern airport decision. Missed all the chaos of the mid-west and eastern winter storms.)
A three-hour-plus layover gave me time to stretch my legs, enjoy a chai latte at Peet’s Coffee, and grab a chicken quesadilla — not overpriced! I walked back to the gate with time to spare.
That’s when things began to unravel.
A gate change on a different concourse. I hustled.
I arrived —just in time to hear — “mechanical difficulties”—“Not sure it will go out tonight”—“Will make a decision by 11 p.m.”—“if you have connecting flights, please see us here at the counter.”
The lines formed. Four of them. I didn’t have a connecting flight, but I was interested to see if there was another flight heading to London Heathrow that night.
I waited my turn — and — long story a tad shorter. There was! Set to leave in two hours if I could go reclaim my bag, get up to the British Airways ticket counter to get a new boarding pass, go through security, and then onto the plane in two hours.
I took the challenge. I didn’t make it.
Back to American with my bag. Back on the same delayed flight. Back to the gate to see what would happen. Back to waiting.
Finally at ten p.m. they called it. Flight out tomorrow at ten a.m. Then two p.m. Then four p.m. I waited. They stopped adjusting. The flight was set—I hoped.
I was disappointed, but there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. So I checked with one of the staff to see what was next. Well . . .
A nice hotel voucher. A nice meal voucher. A good night’s sleep.
I arrived at the airport the next day, found the gate and looked around. Where were all the passengers? I counted about 40 of us and 20 crew. Nice ratio.
I met Guy and Gwen from Yorkshire and we had a wonderful chat while we waited to board.
They boarded first, but I saw them again. They were easy to spot. They were two of the ten of us who had 150 seats to chose from in the economy section. Needless to say, we all spread out and made the most of it.
The flight was smooth and service extremely efficient.
Guy and Gwen and I met up again in baggage claim—kind of hard to miss each other—and repeated our good-byes.
In retrospect, the delay offered opportunities and benefits.
I hope I remember this the next time a prayer request of mine doesn’t seem to be coming fast enough. I hope I remember that although I have plans and expectations, some of which I will have to miss, that the delay could bring something unexpected and better. And it will be for two reasons.
First, God wants only the best for us. (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28; Matthew 7:11; and, of course, the best of all— John 3:16–“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”)
And second, God is never early or late. He is never delayed. His timing is always perfect. (Ecclesiastes 3:1; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 3:5; 2 Peter 3:8-9)
I was reading through Exodus the other day and came across the following passage:
"At the end of 430 years, to the very day, [emphasis mine] all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt (Exodus 12:41).
To the very day! Yes, God is always right on time. No delays . . . just perfection.