Sometimes things don't go the way you plan. Even when you pray and give everything you have.
Because sometimes the Lord's purposes are different than our purposes.
This weekend I spoke at a Time Out for Women event. It was held in South Carolina. The plane was supposed to leave at 7:10am. But there was a mechanical delay.
So the six of us who were supposed to be flying out of SLC to Atlanta gathered together in the airport to wait.
We waited and waited all day long. The mechanical delay kept getting extended. We talked to agents at the desk and spoke to agents over airport telephones. We prayed. The people running the event prayed. The women attending the event prayed.
But even with all of the prayers and all of our efforts we couldn't get a break. As the afternoon wore on we started to panic that maybe we would never make it to South Carolina.
Then, finally, at 3:30pm we boarded the plane. Our connecting flight in Atlanta was supposed to be at 4:00, but we missed that one. And the one at 5:30. And the one at 7:30. And then the one at 8:50. As we flew someone came back to tell us they would put us on the 10:10pm flight to South Carolina.
First thing we did when we exited the plane was check on the 10:10pm flight.
It probably won't surprise you to learn that our names weren't on the flight list. And there was no way we were going to make standby.
I realized we were going to have to drive.
We had been up since 4:30am. It was a three and a half hour drive to South Carolina. The day had been fraught with complications. You couldn't help but wonder where Heaven's hand was.
As we left the airport set on finding the rental car section we stumbled upon a row of shuttles. I asked the man if they drove to South Carolina. He replied that they did.
It was the first positive answer we had received all day.
So we piled in the shuttle and started to drive.
Perhaps you remember that I have a son serving in Atlanta. So I struck up a conversation with the shuttle driver.
"Have you heard of the LDS missionaries?"
"Have you heard of the Mormons?"
"Do you know the young boys who wear suits?" I asked...
"Oh, the ones who knock on doors? Yes, I know about those."
So I told him about my son, Josh, who I haven't seen for a year and a half. He wanted to know more about that. Then he asked if I wanted him to drive me to my sons apartment.
I smiled and said no.
"But" I said, "If by chance we drive past the small town he is serving in I would love it if you would point it out. I would love to see the place where he is serving."
"Where is he?" He asked.
"It's a really small place," I told him, "You might not have ever heard of it before. It's called Doraville."
"We're not going to drive past there," He said. "But I live in Doraville."
I couldn't believe it. What were the odds. I climbed up in the front seat so I could hear all about Doraville. Then the man told me he would love to go visit my son for me. I told him I didn't know how to send him to where my son was, but what if I sent my son to visit him...
And gave me his address.
So I could send Josh to say hello.
It was a remarkable experience. You couldn't help but wonder if Heaven's hand was involved after all.
Because Ben had just come on schedule.
Just in time for us to walk out of the airport.
Had we caught an earlier flight he wouldn't have been there.
Had we caught an earlier flight we wouldn't have needed a shuttle.
What if the purpose of the whole entire day was for 6 Mormons from Utah to meet a man named Ben from Africa.
If that was God's purpose, then it was worth it. Every bit.
Next time things don't go the way you plan...if you wonder if your prayers are being heard...it might help to remember that sometimes Heaven's hand works in mysterious ways.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)