It was a Dark and Stormy Night
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Up at 4:30 AM, I was preparing to speak at a Good Friday prayer breakfast in Oil City, PA. At the event, the Holy Spirit showed up, God moved, and we had a great beginning to a wonderful weekend celebrating Christ’s resurrection.
After the event, it was off to the Philadelphia airport for a quick 1 ½ hour flight home. Easter weekend had the airport teeming with travelers. As we waited, clouds began to roll in and planes failed to roll out. Unfortunately, overbooked airplanes and stormy weather do not a good combination make. Delays and cancelations lit up the departure board.
I was scheduled to arrive in Charlotte, NC at 7:00 PM. But then my arrival time was pushed back to 7:40, then to 8:40, then to 9:30. This was turning out to be not such a “good Friday” after all. The travelers were getting angry, the ticketing agents were getting agitated, and kids were getting antsy. I just wanted to go home.
Finally, after many gate changes and time delays, we boarded the plane headed for Charlotte. As we neared North Carolina, the pilot made an announcement.
“Hello, this is Captain Bernard. Unfortunately, the storm is passing through Charlotte, NC at this time and we will not be able to land. We are going to land in Greensboro, NC, 90 miles away, and wait it out. Feel free to disembark the airplane, but do not leave the boarding area. We will make an announcement when it is time to re-board. Don’t worry. We’ll get you to Charlotte just as quickly as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience. ”
Arg! We landed in Greensboro and waited … and waited … and waited. About 10:30, there was another announcement. “May I have your attention please? For those travelling on flight 389 to Charlotte, unfortunately, the flight crew has logged in too many hours and they will not be able to continue the flight to Charlotte. We have secured vans to drive you the rest of the way. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
A collective moan rose from the motley bunch. We trudged down to baggage claim, retrieved our bags, and separated into groups of nine.
“What do you do?” a man in a business suit asked, trying to pass the time.
“I’d rather not say,” I answered. Thinking he might get the wrong idea, I smiled and said, “Just kidding. I’m an author.”
“What do you write?”
I was hoping he wouldn’t ask me that question. I was not being a very good advertisement. “I write Christian oriented books for women,” I answered. “You know – the kind that tells women how to handle difficulties in life.” We all started laughing.
We piled into the van: eight traveling to visit family, one going home. The air conditioner was broken, and heat blew out of the vents in every direction. No one could figure out how to shut it down. Temperatures rose, sweat poured, layers came off, the widows fogged up. It was miserable.
After about an hour and a-half, I started to relax, thinking we would be in Charlotte at any minute. In the seat in front of me, a twenty-something woman and her mother chatted happily. They were on their way to spend the weekend with daughter number two. Daughter number one, who was apparently tracking our progress on her I-phone, turned around in her seat to face me.
“We’re passing Statesville,” she said. “How much further do we have?”
“Statesville!” I cried. “We’re not supposed to be passing Statesville! He’s going the wrong way!”
Our one and a-half hour van ride turned into a three hour van ride. This was just the icing on a very bad cake. I had way too much material for a new book on suffering and was ready for this not-so-good Friday to be over. Just as I was having a not-so-nice, one-way conversation with God, the mother in front of me drew a smiley face on the window. A smiley face!
What in the world does she have to be happy about! I mused. I don’t see anything “smiley” about this entire situation! We finally arrived in Charlotte sometime after midnight. The 1 ½ hour trip had turned into an eight-hour nightmare. Nine dripping wet, exhausted passengers climbed out of the van and breathed in the fresh night air.
“Bye, Beth,” I said to the young I-pod toting girl. “You have fun with you sister and mom this weekend.”
“Oh, we will,” she replied. “My mom just found out that she has cancer for the second time. It doesn’t look too good. We’re going to spend a weekend together, just the three of us, simply enjoying each other.”
She turned to walk away … never seeing the tears that filled my eyes.
I looked back at the van’s window which still held the picture of a smiley face drawn by a dying woman’s hand. Suddenly, my night of little inconveniences seemed rather petty. It was a Good Friday after all. God had reminded me of all I had to be thankful for. Storms will come in this life. It is our perspective in the storm that will determine whether we will grumble and complain, or draw a smiley face and thank God for each and every breath we have.
I slipped into the car with my precious, patient husband, gave him a quick kiss, and drew a smiley face on the window.
Dear LORD, forgive me when I whine over life’s inconveniences. In the storms of life, help me see Your blessings in the raindrops, Your power in the lightening, and Your voice in the rolling thunder.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
I have two passages I want you to read today. The first is 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. What do you think Paul meant by his light and momentary afflictions?
Now read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. Now, what do you think Paul meant by light and momentary afflictions? This is not what I’d call light affliction, but in view of the glory that we will experience in heaven, Paul thought the struggles of this world were well worth it.