Tuesday, March 29, 2005

God Bless Ruth

Ruth was the nice woman at the NWA ticketing counter in the Minneapolis airport. And I am seriously praying that God will bless her for her little act of kindness to me today, whether she realized how nice she was being or not. My 2:00 flight was delayed, then cancelled, and the phone-rebooking woman claimed she couldn’t get me to Philly until 5:00 pm the next day, and the airline wasn’t giving food/lodging vouchers, on account of it being an “act of God.”

I’m all about everything being an act of God. (I still don’t appreciate that airlines use God’s sovereignty as a cop out when it severely inconveniences the likes of me). But I have a reallyreally hard time reminding myself that God, in his sovereignty and his goodness, has his hand upon me in times like these.

So after standing in two different lines for nearly half an hour, and not getting anywhere, I decided to take a risk and go to an “unauthorized” ticketing agent who wasn’t sick of dealing with stranded passengers and would perhaps have a bit more compassion and leverage. I left the secured area, and that led me to Ruth, who was so busy chatting with a friend when I showed up at the counter that she didn’t realize I was there for a few minutes. Maybe she felt guilty for that; maybe I looked pitiful enough that she felt sorry for me. Either way, she agreed that it was horrible that the person wouldn’t put me on a plane until 24 hours later. She pulled a few strings (I like to think of it like that; anyway, she had to make a few phone calls), and overbooked me on a plane that was scheduled to take off at 7:01. (For once, I’m thankful for the airlines’ overbooking policies!)

As I sit in the airport and write, the plane has been gone from being delayed 2 ½ hours down to 1 hour, 45 minutes. I’ll take anything – even a middle seat – at this point. (But I’m in a window seat anyway.)

I am such a wimp (read: sinner)! I get significantly inconvenienced when I’m traveling so rarely. And yet I have trouble being gracious to the airline folks and compassionate for my fellow travelers on the rare occasions that I get such a cancellation. (For the record, there was an “equipment change,” i.e. a bigger plane, so my overbooking didn’t end up meaning that someone else would get kicked off of the plane – in fact, I see some of my fellow flight 690 exiles who are on standby also preparing to get on this plane, so that’s good.)

And I am so unfaithful. I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I’m even a bit fearful. Is it all that big of a deal if I make it to Philly tomorrow at 5:00? No. I’d miss 4 hours of class, and I have great friends who would take notes for me. I could spend $7 to log on to the internet in the airport and take my Hebrew quiz … I might do that anyway! I might spend a bit of money on food and a hotel; or I could call up our family friends and spend the night with them.

Having just celebrated Easter yesterday, I am convicted that this is all pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Yesterday, I teared up singing “we will dance on the streets that are golden;” today I teared up because I might have to spend the night in a hotel room.

Is my world spinning out of control? NO, a thousand times NO. I am still just as securely in the palm of God’s hands as I would have been if I were already sitting in my room in Philadelphia. God still cares for me just as much. I can sing of my Redeemer just as much with Ruth putting me on this flight and hoping that the flight will actually leave (and land) as I should have if I had been stuck with the Tuesday afternoon flight.

How right Jack Miller was when he said that we have to preach the Gospel to ourselves every second of the day!

Now, I think I’ll study a bit more Hebrew and then go buy some more overpriced airport food. God is still good, even when pizza costs $2 per bite!!!

Postscript: I wrote this in the airport while waiting for my 7:00 flight to leave at 9:30. They got our hopes up that it would leave earlier, but then a broken door on the plane and a plane change ensured that we wouldn't get into Philly much before 1 a.m. To add insult to injury, the baggage carousels were broken when we arrived, the baggage claim area was jam-packed with travelers who had been waiting for their luggage for hours. Mine came relatively quickly (30-45 min.), but I was more than ready to fall into bed when I finally made it back to Glenside!

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