I had one of those experiences this past week that doesn’t seem to make sense no matter how I look at it. I flew to Halifax for a number of meetings in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The flight went well. I arrived on time.
Everything seemed to be progressing perfectly until I went to the counter to pick up my rental car. They found me in the computer and began to process the reservation.
Then it happened.
They asked me for a credit card and my driver’s license. Normal procedure. I had done this many times before. I reached into my wallet, took out my credit card and flipped over to the spot where I keep my driver’s license.
My license wasn’t there.
I checked the rest of the wallet.
I checked the pockets in my pants and my jacket.
I checked the file folder in which I had all the papers for this trip.
By this point I was starting to become concerned.
I went through everything a second time.
A third time
I returned to the Westjet counter and they contacted the plane to see if I had dropped it.
The call came back.
They phoned their office in Toronto to see if anyone had turned it in.
By this time I was really worried.
I called Service Ontario to see if they could send a temporary license to the car rental office. They told me that I could fax them an application and they would process it in fifteen business days.
Not much help.
The problem was that I couldn’t rent a car without a valid driver’s license. Without a car I couldn’t get to any of my meetings. Without the meetings there was no reason for me to be in the Maritimes.
By now I was really worried.
I tried several other things but there was no way that I could get a license and without a license there was no way that the rental company could rent me a car.
I finally realized that the only option open to me was to return home and reschedule the meetings. I flew all the way to Halifax and never left the airport.
As I said to my wife when I got home, it was not one of my better days.
The people who had set aside time for the meetings were very gracious. The airline who changed my flight so that I could return that day were extremely helpful. I got to spend three days with my wife that I hadn’t planned on spending and they were wonderful.
The problem was that I felt stupid for losing my license and bad for all the people who were inconvenienced because of my carelessness.
An interesting twist
In my personal devotional time in the mornings I am reading a book written by Paul David Tripp. It is entitled Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.
I had to leave my house for the airport at about 5:00am which meant that I didn’t have a lot of time to have a devotional time before I had to be on my way. I decided that I would read Tripp on the flight to Halifax.
In the section that I read Tripp tells about a very challenging evening that he had with his family. After a very full day he was looking forward to getting home and to spending a quiet evening with his family.
From the moment that he pulled into his driveway, everything went wrong. Rather than a quiet evening he found himself driving his children to appointments. Then he got a call from his wife saying that she would be late. Finally when his son told him that he needed a drive to the store so that he could pick up a calculator, Tripp blew and took out his anger of his son.
He concludes his story with these words:
“Don’t miss the point of this story. My anger was not caused by the people and situations I encountered. My anger was caused by completely legitimate desires that came, wrongly, to rule me. By the time that I finished shopping for the Cuban meal, I was holding the desire for a relaxing evening with a closed fist. But God had another plan. He had arranged to give me an evening where I could serve him by serving my family. He gave me the blessing of giving, the joy of laying down my life for others. Yet I did not see it because I was ruled by my own desires. Beneath my war with people, the war for my heart was raging.” p. 82
Every situation I faced last Monday as I tried to find a solution, God brought those words to my mind. Each person with whom I spoke, God reminded me of what I had just read.
On one of the most frustrating days of my life, I didn’t even feel like I could get frustrated because God reminded me that it was an opportunity to serve him and to demonstrate his grace.
As I look back over the whole experience, I hope that I never have another day quite like it. On the other hand it wasn’t all bad.
I experienced grace from a lot of people and for that I am thankful.
I learned that you can fly to Halifax and back in the same day if you don’t want to have a particularly productive day.
I got to spend extra time with my wife and for a number of reasons we haven’t had a lot of time to be together over the past few months. That was wonderful.
I was reminded that in every circumstance we are in a spiritual battle. I need to choose to demonstrate God’s grace to those he brings into my life and that is every bit as true when things go wrong and when they go right.
I hope that last Monday I did exactly that.