Little Tokens of Love
Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Proverbs 12:15 (ESV)
It wasn’t my preference, but the middle seat was the only option available to me for my flight to North Carolina to visit my son and daughter-in-law. The flight was full in spite of the fact that the COVID-19 virus was beginning to spread. I was fortunate. I couldn’t have picked better seatmates. The man to my left plugged in his headphones and promptly went to sleep. An American Airlines pilot sat on my right. The awkward first moments of conversation with my pilot flying companion began just before takeoff. As the stressed out passengers haggled over overhead storage space and seat swapping so they wouldn’t have to sit by the window, we both shook our heads. “It’s a one hour flight people” she chuckled. I nodded and I told her I taught high school and was often amazed at how adults were often just overgrown adolescents.
A few moments later, I asked her about the Charlotte airport and my connection time. I had under an hour to make my connecting flight to Raleigh and I had never navigated the Charlotte airport before. I wasn’t worried, but I wanted to be reassured that I had enough time to make my next flight.
She asked about the gates for my flights. She said if they were both in the main terminal it wouldn’t be a problem but all I had at the moment were the flight numbers. She extrapolated from the numbers that more than likely my next flight was on a large plane, not a commuter, and the flight would be out of the main terminal. She reassured me that it shouldn’t be a problem. A ten minute walk max.
Shortly after take-off, I found the gate numbers and showed her. She nodded. Main terminal. No problem. You might even have time to grab a quick drink or bite to eat. I plugged in my audio book and left her alone after that.
When we landed in Charlotte, she looked out the window, turned to me, and before I could say anything gave me directions to get to my gate. Then she graciously offered to move out of my way so I could get off the plane in front of her.
Her directions were perfect.
When I reached my destination I wanted to turn and thank her, but it wasn’t possible. She was no longer sitting next to me. The best I could do was to pray for her as she continued to do her job flying planes.
You could say I was lucky or that it was a coincidence I sat by a pilot that day, but I choose to believe it was God meeting a small unspoken not fully realized need in my life.
I could have found my way through the airport. It wasn’t hard. The Charlotte airport is not that big. But, it was nice stepping off the plane and knowing exactly where I was going. Nothing I saw took me by surprise. It was exactly how she described it.
Friend, God loves us. God cares for us. God meets all our needs, even ones we don’t recognize we have. He makes a way for us even before we get to the starting line. Life is a struggle sometimes. It requires navigating a lot of unknown territory. And the unknown tends to make most of us a little nervous at best, panicked at worst.
My airline encounter gave me a glimpse of God’s intimate love for me. He cared enough to give me a guide for the next leg of my journey. A guide I didn’t really need, but one that nevertheless made my trip so much easier.
I don’t know what journey you are on today, but I do know you can trust God with whatever burden you are carrying. He loves you and is providing for you in ways you don’t even see yet. Just like I didn’t know how nice an airport guide would be, He provided one in the seat next to me anyways.
So, in the uncertainties you face today, when you are unsure of so many things; trust Him. Trust His love. Trust His heart. God is constantly sprinkling little tokens of His love all around us. He is doing far more than we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). It could even be something as simple as placing a pilot in the seat next to you.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
I turned to the dawdling teenager behind me, “Hurry up!” I admonished.
“I am hurrying.” Came the reply.
I observed the shuffling feet, loafing stride, and couldn’t stop myself from spouting back, “Well, could you at least look like you’re hurrying?”
My three lumbering men drove me nuts when we were trying to get somewhere on time. None of them had a fast twitch fiber to their name when it came to getting somewhere quickly on foot. I felt like a sheep dog constantly circling and nipping at their heels trying get them to hurry along. But no matter how many “hurry ups” I quipped, they never seemed to move any faster.
I am not much different in my dealings with God when I think He is dawdling in my life.
How many times do I whisper in my heart telling the Lord to hurry up? I look at my circumstances and I think that God is moving too slowly. I feel like He is taking way too long to answer my prayers, heal my heart, or cure my ailments. I quickly begin to hound Him.
“How long, Lord?”
“Hurry up, Lord.”
Or even, “Could you at least look like your hurrying.”
God is not pressured by my perception of time. He is not fazed by my frazzled frenzy. His will does not bend to accommodate my desired time table. God is sovereign and in His sovereignty He moves at the rate of speed that is required to achieve His purposes, not mine. What I perceive as slow, God sees as patient. His timing is perfect and in the perfect time He fulfills His promises.
When I ask, “How long?” God responds, “As long as it takes.” You see, God will take as long as He needs in order to complete the restorative work He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6) and in the world (2 Peter 3:9).
So what are you waiting for today? What request is on hold while you wait for God to answer? What are you wanting God to accomplish in your life? Take heart from 2 Peter 3:8-10 and know that what we perceive as dawdling is actually God’s perfect patience as He orchestrates the fulfillment of His promises.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.