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"How Would He Know Where We're Going?"

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I’ve been anticipating this week for a few months now. For one, I took a week off of my bi-vocational ‘tent making’ job to bask in some of the Portland summer weather before the rainy season returns. Secondly, my mom and John are coming from Canada for a visit, and thirdly Cassie is driving in from Tulsa to spend some time at home! It’s a big week and a really great one too. I've spent the last 2 days getting ready by cleaning my house, and all the while wondering why I didn’t clean up after myself better than I have! I’m really looking forward to having everyone here and having time to spend with them. But as life goes, sometimes things don’t always turn out exactly as we plan. 

My mom texted me yesterday while in Calgary, Alberta, sitting on the tarmac of their connector flight. The bag boys were loading the luggage on the plane and at the time of loading it began to lightning and rain. I guess policy at that airport is when the rains come down and there’s lightning in the vicinity, the airline workers abandon all and head for the nearest coffee shop to wait out the storm – because that is exactly what they did! Intelligence would tell me to drive the baggage cart back to the luggage area. But not so at this airport. They merely left everyone’s luggage on the tarmac to sit and soak in the rain while they enjoyed their Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts inside. To make matters worse, the airline thought it best to leave the passengers on the plane so they could watch the heavenly light display and see who’s luggage could endure the torrential downpour. Then in the midst of it all, came the worst news of all. The airline canceled the entire flight. Not only did they cancel, but they also let everyone know they would have to find another way to their destination. Thus the mad scramble to find a connector flight and hotel room began! It was text book ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’. I’m thinking of the scene where Del Griffith tells Neil Page that he’d have better luck playing pickup sticks than he would getting another flight out! (Yes, it’s edited for all those that remember that classic line.) I felt bad for my mom and John. Soaked luggage, damaged clothes, no place to stay and no flights out. Where was Del Griffith when they needed him? Needless to say, the airline rebooked them for a flight out 2 days later but with no reimbursement for the hotel nor the damaged luggage and clothing. Unbelievable. 

No sooner than the next evening did my daughter call me on her trek home and ask, ‘Dad what do I do if they shut the entire interstate down?’ Just as she crossed into Oregon, ODOT shut interstate 84 down for a 120 mile stretch. Why? Wildfires. To make matters worse, there was no report as to when the freeway would open again. There was my 19 year old, dead stopped in the middle of nowhere. There were no police or road crews. Just a long line of vehicles sitting on the side of the road facing a barricaded highway and a large sign saying, “Highway Closed. Use alternate route.” Unbelievable. So after some fancy road mapping via Google Maps I was able to reroute Cassie through secondary highways and mountain passes into Portland. Yet another Del Griffith/Neil Page moment! But unlike the movie, her car didn’t catch on fire, she didn’t get arrested and she made it in safe and sound!   

You know, when life happens you’ve got to keep the big picture in mind. We can’t stop the rain. We can’t move the road barricades, and we can’t always rid ourselves of the hard-to-deal-with people. Instead we have to keep our goal, dream and purpose in front of us and that often requires a good amount of patience, resilience, grace and love. Sometimes we need to be intentional and forthright in order to get that mountain to move and people to listen. Other times it takes keeping the paddle in the water and weathering the storm. The only way the circumstances in life get the best of us is when we quit moving, quit talking and quit believing in the bigger picture. I think it’s impossible for depression or hopelessness to hit a moving target and we will always be a moving target so long as we don’t lose faith and sight in what is in store for us. I like the story of when the threat of defeat was all around God’s people and God shared his perspective on it to Jeremiah:

Don't lose hope. Don't ever give up when the rumors pour in hot and heavy.

Enjoy your week! I know I will!
Pastor Shian

Pastor ShianComment