In the ministry God has called me to for 41 years now, I have boarded so many airplanes that I long ago lost count as to how many. Considering the numerous flights I have taken, and all the countries I have travelled to, it’s amazing that my luggage was only lost twice (in both instances it arrived eventually) and only missed or flight cancelled, four times that I recall. (Trains, taxis, trucks, jeeps, helicopters, tuk tuks, boats, and horses are another matter.)
On one such flight that had been cancelled, when I really needed to be somewhere at a certain time, and feeling frustrated about it all, my father calmly said, “You won’t know until you get to heaven, but maybe you’ve been protected from something on the other end of this journey, like a car accident. Could be.” Immediately I felt a calm come over me. Yes, I reasoned, could be. From that time to this day, when plans don’t go as I had hoped or planned, his words come back to me.
Such instances also remind me of the story of Elisha in II Kings 6. The King of Aram was furious with Elisha to the point he planned to kill him. He sent troops, horses, and chariots in great number. Elisha’s servant saw them and cried out in fear, but Elisha was unfazed. He told his servant in verse 16, “‘Don’t be afraid, for there are more on our side than on theirs.” Elisha asked the Lord to let his servant have a glimpse into the unseen world. At that very moment the servant saw horses and chariots of fire in great number, all from God.
You and I cannot see everything that takes place in our spiritual worlds because we are still limited to physical eyesight. Even so, be assured just as Elisha was, that the angels of God are indeed encamped all around us. Sometimes these angels appear in human form. We know this from Hebrews 13:2, “Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it.” Could it be angels, in human form, who at times delay us, in keeping with the purposes of God for our lives?
I smile when I think of my father’s words that day my flight was cancelled. I won’t know until I get to heaven, the times that a delay has been a God arrangement, keeping me from some calamity. It will surely be exciting for all of us to find out such things.
The next time a plan goes amiss, take a moment to remind yourself — when we are perplexed, God is not — when we are late, God is always right on time — when we are frustrated by delay, God is never surprised by it. God is in our every moment. He is with us today, and when tomorrow comes, He is already there waiting.