Have you ever been stuck in an airport? For 24 hours? In a city where you can’t speak the language? Four thousand miles from home?
While most of us would find such an inconvenience intolerable, maybe – just maybe, God’s hand is in the delay. On a return trip from Capetown, South Africa – our flight had been rerouted to different cities and countries on the return trip. The unexpected detour would cost me several hours on my return trip home. Honestly, I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy about the extended international trip, I wasn’t happy that I was stuck on a window seat and I wasn’t happy that there was a kid kicking the back of my chair for a very long flight. In the middle of my self-proclaimed pitty-party, a nice South African lady sat down who started a conversation right up. Come to find out, her son owned a chain of clothing stores. The same store that I had just stopped at in a mall to by some shirts for my boys. That conversation lead us to talk about her problems that she had raising her now grown-children and how she wishes she could go back and do some things differently. I begun feeling a nudge, that maybe God put us together and I began to share with her about Christ. She had not been to a church since her childhood and had never taken any of her children to church and now, several thousand feet up in the air, we prayed a simple prayer and asked God to come in to her heart and help her reach out to her now grown children.
How often do we experience delays, changes of plans, and redirections and treat them as intrusions on our busy calendar? It could be that God is detouring us so we can do something different or new for Him. Consider Paul’s trip to Philippi in Acts 16. He had gone to Macedonia because of a God-directed vision (vs 9-10). How could he know that he would end up in prison there? But even that trip to jail was God-led, because He used Paul to bring salvation to a jailer and his family (vv.25-34).
God can use inconveniences in our lives if we look at them as divine appointments.