Aren’t we women creative? We know how to plan and fix things. If there’s a problem, we can come up with a detailed list of 1,2,3’s that will end all difficulty! That is until the Lord steps in and reminds us that He is in control and we are not.
As I packed for my recent trip to Nova Scotia, I didn’t want to pay $25 to check a bag and also run the risk of losing my luggage and getting to the retreat unprepared. So, I packed my allowed two carry-on bags with the essentials, happy to know I had everything I needed for the weekend on my person! That is until I arrived at the gate of the first plane I was catching. The attendant looked and Kellie and me and said, “Step aside, please. I’m calling the stewardess in the plane to see if there’s room for your carry-on bag.”
Kellie and I looked at each other, with a look that could have meant we were headed for the guillotine! How could we let go of our bags? They had everything we needed – not just clothes, but the session outlines for the retreat, hygiene products, make up, curling iron… We waited. Then the call came – No more room on the plane for bags.
The attendant urged us to take out things that were urgent – medication, phone chargers, etc. We thought everything was urgent, but we didn’t have room for it in our backpacks that would be going with us, so we took out a few things, and then with an ominous air, our bags were snatched away with these words –
“Your bags will be shipped to your final destination.”
“They’ll be in Halifax when we get there?” we asked. We were assured that this was correct. We boarded the plane feeling a little relieved; not having to pay the normal $25 for checking a bag, and the delight of not having to drag that luggage through Atlanta and Toronto. It was a great day!
Later in the evening when we arrived in Toronto, we went through customs, passed through the baggage area, then on to security. I jokingly said to Kellie when we passed the baggage claim area, “I sure hope our bags aren’t over there waiting for us!” We laughed innocently and headed to the security line. We were approached by a woman who said, “Did you check bags?” We explained to her that our bags were going on to Halifax. “Sorry, but your bags won’t be in Halifax. They HAVE to go through customs at the first spot of entry into Canada. You should have gotten your bags here. Now there’s not time for you to go back or you’ll miss your plane.”
Our hearts sank. We had been given incorrect information, but there was nothing we could do about it. We boarded the plane to Halifax, prayer in our hearts to our God who knew exactly what we needed.
Sure to her word, our bags were not on the conveyor belt in Halifax. After talking to the very kind man at the customer service department, we were told our luggage would be flown in by dinner tomorrow.
It was well after midnight now and not much was open – aside from a truck stop that was as prepared with emergency products as a beach bum would be prepared for a blizzard. We did each get a toothbrush, and Kellie had toothpaste in her backpack; at least our teeth would be clean!
The next morning, I realized that I could be speaking to these ninety ladies in my traveling clothes that had also served as my pajamas. Speaking in white jeans would be a first! I had no fresh makeup, my hair wouldn’t be “fixed,” and the outfit I had carefully planned out would not be worn. The theme for the retreat was “The Woman in the Mirror.” I was going to be a living illustration of someone who was stripped of all outside appearances! But you know what? The Lord gave me a perfect peace. We had many laughs over the whole situation. With whom was there to be angry? After spending time with the Lord in prayer Saturday morning, I wrote these thoughts the Lord brought to my heart:
- I am more desperate without God than I am without my luggage! – If the Lord didn’t go with me and speak through me, I would have stayed in my cabin, but I had His promise that He would strengthen and equip me for this task!
- If God needs to strip away the veneer of my outside so that He might be glorified, then it’s best.
- I can lose things, but I’m eternally secure in Christ.
- The only control I have is over my own choices. God is sovereign! My response to this situation was critical.
- Things don’t matter. God, His Word and souls are eternal and are the important issues to dwell on.
I plunged on through the day desiring to make the most of this unplanned situation. I had to do a little preaching to myself from time to time. It’s no surprise that one of my sessions was on the sovereignty of God! He was giving me a first-hand lesson!
That afternoon a few hours before the retreat started, we were driven to town where we were able to purchase things with $100 each, (provided by the airline) that would get us through until the luggage arrived.What a blessing! I did wear my top and sweater that I’d had on for 36 hours, but I found a petite skirt to wear with it! Kellie knocked it out of the park with a cute skirt outfit she found. We got to clean up and look a little less like Tennessee hillbillies and more like women who were prepared for a retreat! We were so thankful!
Then wonder of wonders, as soon as the first service was over, our luggage was delivered to our door! I did get a little happy at the sight of my suitcase, but it was paired with the joy of the things the Lord had taught me in its absence! Who needs luggage when you have a sovereign God in control of everything that touches your life?! He has a plan that far outreaches my plans or the airline and I can trust Him! Losing my luggage wasn’t such a bad thing after all!
When have you had to trust the sovereign hand of God? Maybe even today something is out of your control, but God has not forgotten you. Trust His plan and rest in His care. He’ll do something marvelous!