Monday, May 12, 2008

Now I Understand

OK. Are you ready for this???
The conclusion of my Southern Adventure?
Sunday morning I got up very early to make sure I made it to the airport on time for my flight home. I sat in the hotel lobby, waiting for the shuttle to arrive, and got a big ol' grin on my face when I looked over at the elevators and saw that two of them were sitting at the eleventh floor. 11 11, again.
OK, Lord, I prayed, I know You're in this. Please show me the reason for this change in plans.
Once at the airport, I sat with a bunch of other passengers - waiting for a flight attendant. Don't know what was slowing her down, but for some reason she was late and we weren't boarding the plane without her. Several times, an announcement came over the speakers that we would be boarding shortly, and making our connecting flights in Atlanta shouldn't be a problem.
In spite of the fact we took off nearly an hour later than scheduled, I'm telling you, I have never seen a faster boarding and take-off process than the one I experienced when that flight attendant reported for duty yesterday morning. Quite impressive, I thought. And the captain said he would get us to Atlanta ASAP.

That was all well and good, but I did find myself thinking, With such a short lay-over, how am I going to have this meeting I have been anticipating all night? Maybe it will be with the person I'm seated next to on the flight to Detroit. I'm sure God has it figured out.
Well, our plane landed in Atlanta about 9:10 and I was stepping into the terminal at 9:20. That's when I found out my 9:30 flight to Detroit had already taken off! Several of us were "supposed" to be on that plane, but the airline had already re-booked us for the 2:19 flight in the afternoon. And when the ticketing agent handed me my new boarding pass, guess what the first line said?
Most people would have seen this:
FLT:147 Gate:C11 11May08
I saw, Trust Me, Karen. I'm in this! (Do you see the 11 11?)
Seriously, at this point all I could do was laugh. Laugh at the hilarity of another delay. Laugh at the idea, What else can go wrong? Laugh because of the joy building in me over whatever it was God had up His sleeve.
I walked through the terminal toward Gate C11 laughing. Wondering if anyone might be concerned for my mental state. What's wrong with her??? And, honestly, not really caring what they may be thinking.

Now that I had nearly five hours to wait in the airport, I was sure God would find the time for me to talk with someone about Him, or pray for them, or just listen to them. Yes, five hours would be so much more effective than the half hour, or so, I was anticipating initially.
As I approached my gate I saw an older woman sitting alone, plenty of empty seats around her, so I walked over and sat beside her. I smiled at her and said hello, then asked where she was going. She just looked at me, so I repeated myself. She managed to get out, "Detroit," which is when I determined she didn't speak English. OK, maybe not, I thought.
So I took out my Bible and started reading.
Throughout the rest of the morning and early afternoon I did a lot of Bible reading. I interacted with a couple other people, including one college student who came and sat right beside me. When she sat down I asked, Is it her, Lord? But when I asked where she was flying to and she told me Dallas, and I said I was going to Detroit, she realized her mistake (DFW, not DTW!). So she quickly said Good-bye, and left to find the correct gate.
I found myself having some great Bible study and fully enjoying my time with God, thanking Him for the things He was showing me. As my five hours were drawing to a close I began to wonder, Was this simply a gift to me, Lord? Time you set aside for me with nothing but You and my Bible? In an airport? A little odd, but, OK - if that's how You want it. A retreat center might be nice next time. If You're looking for suggestions, that is.

Then, just as I was considering getting up and offering my seat and the empty one next to me to an older couple, an airline employee walked around the corner pushing a man in a wheel chair. She brought him right over to the empty chair next to me and we both helped him sit down.
It didn't take long for me to understand this man was the reason God had kept me at the airport.
His name is Mick and he was flying home from a service he'd just attended marking the one year anniversary of his son being DUSTWUN (Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown) in Iraq. His son's name is Byron Fouty and you can read about him here if you'd like.
Mick hadn't slept in three days and was, understandably, exhausted. He told me about many of the things burdening him right now, and though he said he believes in God, he told me he wished God didn't think he could handle so much.
Most of the time I was sitting with Mick, he was somewhere between sleep and utter confusion. He kept apologizing for himself and I just wanted to cry. I cannot imagine facing the things he's going through right now - with his son and a very recent cancer diagnosis for himself. He is carrying heavy burdens and I just wished there was a way I could help him.
I prayed with Mick - for him and his son - and promised him I would continue to pray for both of them, watching in the news for indications of Byron's return.
And now I'm asking you, my dear friends, to pray for Mick and Byron. For Mick's mental, physical and emotional health, and for the discovery of Byron's whereabouts. And that through this whole ordeal, they may come to know the Lord personally.
I realize I cannot do anything about his situation, but I know God can, and I can plead with God on Mick's behalf. Please join me!
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luvmy4sons said...

Wow. Just when you think your petty little problems are big. I will be praying!

Jodi said...

Many prayers will be said! God is so good isn't He??

mamachristina said...

tag you're it, come see me at

sagerats said...

How very weird about the 11 11 showing up everywhere! God is truly in the details. I'm glad you were there to be with Mick, he needed someone like you to care on that part of the trip.

Abiding in the Vine!

Leah said...

Ah, but you did do something about Mick's situation. You moved heaven's heart to intervene on his behalf by your prayers. Nothing and I repeat nothing is more effective!!

God bless you,


Anonymous said...

thank you for being open to God and letting him help Mick through you.

Shawna said...

How wonderful to wait on God! I will be praying for Mick and Byron.