I think one of the most amazing things to me about God is how He orders our steps. So often we get upset because the plans that we had made – the direction that we had planned on going – is thwarted by some seemingly random and often inconvenient circumstance. Yet God in His amazing timing and grace was really in it all along. Scripture will tell us that our steps are “ordered by the Lord.” How often in our self consumed busy lives we forget that.
I am on a business trip to India this week. As is often the case with international travel, things were complicated right at the very last minute and plans were changed. Plans that, to be honest, I was not exactly happy about. I did my share of grumbling and complaining and finally put on a “happy face” and decided to fake it till I made it – mostly just make the best of what was happening as I had no choice to change it. This was an incredible opportunity. I was once again granted favor to make a trip on behalf of my company – why was I complaining in the first place? Why the bad attitude – “Come on, Amanda, work with me here!” Yet somehow anxiousness for this trip prevailed.
What I was missing, of course, was that God was directing my paths…He had a plan for this change and I almost missed it.
The circumstances of this particular event happened because the flight plan I had initially requested and approved – which had me doing a layover in Europe – changed. This time my flight was to take me from Dallas to Chicago and then on from there to Abu Dhabi THEN onto Mumbai. I looked forward to the flight with growing dread. The flight from Chicago to Abu Dhabi is 12 hours long….then to change airports and get into Mumbai at 2 in the morning – ridiculous. But God had bigger plans. He had a divine appointment.
I landed in Abu Dhabi – taking in a completely new airport to me. Looking at the other travelers wondering where they were going, absorbing the sounds, and colors and scents of the duty free shops and thinking how my friend Heather would be shopping up a storm and thinking I needed to email her. I got to the information booth near my terminal and as I browsed the flat screen that was streaming flights and departing times I saw another young white female looking just as bewildered and lost as I was, so I struck up a conversation with her.
She was South African by decent – that is, of course, my small world – and we immediately struck up a conversation. Within about 3 minutes into the conversation – and that timing is not an exaggeration at all – it was clear that she was going through a struggle in life and immediately our conversation turned to the Lord and how He directs our paths. She began to cry a bit, simply overwhelmed by her circumstances in general and I teared up as well, simply amazed at the goodness of God who could take two women from two completely different places in life – to meet in the middle of a bustling airport and dwell right there in the midst of our conversation in 3 minutes flat!
We went, grabbed a coffee and sat down to have a chat. I wanted to encourage her and pray over her and she ended up blessing and encouraging me just as much. We sat together talking, chatting, sharing scripture and exchanging contact information right until it was time for my plane to depart both having felt that something special and sacred had just happened in this place so far from both of our homes.
I got on the next plane – another three hours until I was to where I was supposed to “go to work” – but God had already done a work in me. He once again showed up in the midst of what I thought to be an inconvenient moment; and made His name known to two weary travelers – pilgrims really – in a land foreign to both of us. He brought two of His daughters together to encourage one another and send each other off to the next part of what He has planned. As sat back and buckled my seatbelt, I was refreshed and renewed, and I was wearing a true “happy face.”