I had the best thing happen to me last week: I was late.
My plane out of Fort Meyers, Florida got delayed almost 5 hours. That meant I
missed my connection from Houston to Seattle to Victoria, and had to be re-routed through Calgary, with a 4-hour layover. I arrived home 7 hours later than scheduled.
It was awesome.
I mean that. My son Adam lives in Calgary. When I realized I’d be in his town long enough to have dinner with him, I contacted him and asked if he could meet me at the airport. He was able to get off of work early, and arrived exactly as I cleared customs. We spend a glorious 2 hours together.
It was the best part of the entire trip, a gift and bonus on top of everything.
The upside of a delay like that is obvious. It’s lying right on the surface. But I think every disruption and detour in our lives has grace hidden in its folds. Some of this grace we’ll never know – maybe the 5 minute delay you had in a construction zone spared you a horrific accident further down the road. Some we have to sleuth out – maybe the 5 hour delay at the airport was exactly the time you needed to finish some work. Or maybe it gave you that half-day with God your soul ached for.
It’s surprising how often in Scripture God’s purposes break out from disruption or delay. Because Paul couldn’t get into Asia Minor, he ended up in Macedonia. Because of a series of disruptions in Macedonia, many people’s lives were transformed: a rich woman, an enslaved demon-afflicted girl, a grim prison guard, a prison house of hard-bitten criminals.
And – though not even Paul knew this at the time – that little stopover in Macedonia opened up the entire missionary enterprise into Europe. The gospel that finally reached you came through the door of a re-routed schedule.
None of this would have happened if Paul had carried on according to his own well-laid plans. God stalled him and then re-directed him. The results changed lives. The results changed history.
Not a bad thing to ponder next time your flight’s delayed.