On plane trips from Indiana to North Carolina and back this past week, I enjoyed the pleasant providence of God. Perhaps we often bring to mind God's providence in darker moments, leaning on this teaching to know that the trials and difficulties we are facing come from the hand of God. Yet daily the Lord providentially showers His good gifts upon us (Matthew 5:45; James 1:17) and we should receive them with gratitude. My time in my home state of NC was blessed by staying with my brother's family and helping a congregation down there. But even my trips in the plane, usually dreaded by this homebody, proved to be quite delightful.
As I got in line to board the plane in Indianapolis to Chicago, I heard my named called out and turned around to see Aaron. Two nights before, our congregation had held a special dinner to raise further support for Aaron's five-month mission trip to S. Sudan, where he was to join with our Cush4Christ team. That night we had discussed that we were both leaving on Friday, but in my absentmindedness I could not recall my flight time and thought I was leaving much later than he was. Yet here we were both on the same plane and sitting just a few rows from each other. As we parted at O'Hare, I told Aaron this was a reminder to both of us that "the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
On my return flight from NC to Chicago, I was seated by a man who, though he was dressed casually, ended up being a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force stationed on a Pacific island. As we talked, I discovered he was a fellow Tarheel, of Scottish descent, a Presbyterian, and, most importantly, a sincere believer. An incredibly intelligent and well-read man of history (he had a copy of _1453 _he was working on), I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion that ranged from island living to Asian tensions to the Muslim conflict to predestination to raising children for the Lord. The flight went by quickly.
Then in the Chicago airport I met with my second delay in two days. The day before it had been a malfunctioning deicer that caused us to have to disembark and, after nearly two hours, board another plane. The second two-hour delay was due to their need to replace a wheel on the aircraft. Yet even delays could not spoil this trip. As I sat on the floor in the crowded gate, a man across from me looked familiar. I ventured the question, "Are you John Branyan?" He replied in the affirmative. Somewhere a few weeks prior, someone had drawn my attention to the video below where John, a comedian, does a brilliant rendition of the Three Little Pigs in Shakespearean-style English. So I had a great time getting to know him, and even found out in the process he lives in Kokomo.
Who knows? If this keeps up, I may even start to like traveling.