by Jennifer Bell
November 13, 2019
I’m a huge fan of country music and for years have wanted to take a trip to the home of the best music on the planet: Nashville, Tennessee.
This dream not only came to fruition, but became even greater when it turned into a mother/daughter adventure. Mom and I jetted off to Nashville and had a great time doing tourist-y things, driving beautiful back country roads, hearing local music and, of course, experiencing southern cooking!
When our time in Nashville came to an end, we hit the sack early to be ready to catch our 6:20 a.m. flight. But . . . after returning our rental car and checking our luggage, we were informed our 6:20 flight had been pushed to 9:15. Honestly, it was 5:00 a.m., and I hadn’t even had coffee. I was in no mood to sit in an airport for four-plus hours. But, after huffing all the way to our gate, I took a deep breath and accepted this delay.
Just as we settled in to wait, the attendant announced the flight to Los Angeles was pushed back to 1:30 p.m. Seriously?! Another delay? And eight-and-a-half hours in the airport?
They gave us the option to jump on a plane currently boarding for Chicago with a connecting flight to Los Angeles but the twenty-eight minutes connection time seemed too risky. Then we heard about another option through Charlotte to Los Angeles, arriving at 12:30. This was great news, and we jumped at the opportunity. Detours averted, and Los Angeles was only one flight away!
Except, I looked at my ticket and saw that I was no longer Jennifer Bell from Southern California, but a passenger from a foreign country. WHAT?! The gate attendant quickly corrected the ticket. I was still with Mom. All was fine. Until we were walking down the aisle to our seats, and I realized I was now in the middle seat—ugh. And, we were in the very last row that backed up to the restrooms. There would be no reclining my middle seat for the sleep I so desperately needed. This was not how my great vacation was supposed to end. I was supposed to have been on an earlier flight with no issues, sleeping all the way home.
I have no idea why all those delays and detours occurred that day. Looking back, I know I missed multiple opportunities to exercise my faith and trust in God. I knew God was in control, but it wasn’t until I was sandwiched in my middle seat, flying from Charlotte to Los Angeles, that I finally got it and asked God to forgive me for the way I had been acting. I was out of my comfort zone, cranky and tired, but once I got out of my own way, God gave me peace. He so gently pointed out my need that day for patience and flexibility—lessons that I obviously needed to learn more about.
Now, my Tuesday night Bible study is going through a study called “Detours” about how God uses what we might consider a detour as an opportunity for Him to grow our faith and to prepare and lead us to the destiny He has for us. With these delays and detours, God taught me about myself and opened my eyes and heart to areas that I need to be more trusting in. I needed to be looking to Him instead of coming unhinged and melting down.
God allows detours for our own good, even though it may not feel that way at the time. Each detour is an opportunity to rely on Him alone, so that we’re equipped to carry out His ultimate plan for our lives.
God, please help me to have a heart that puts full trust in You in all circumstances, so You can grow me and make me more like You. Help me to embrace detours in my life as an opportunity to grow more in my faith so that I am ready for whatever plans You have for my life. Equip me to be a strong, steadfast example of your gospel. Amen.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Jennifer loves spending time with family, friends and her church family. She also enjoys baseball, especially her San Francisco Giants.