I just returned home from a week+ of vacation up in Cape May, NJ. While it was a great week, pretty relaxing, and overall restful, the return trip did its darned best to exterminate every ounce of rest gained over the week. Our flight out of Philadelphia back to Orlando got delayed a couple of hours, and while, annoying as it is, I would normally just take that in stride, I was traveling with my toddler daughter, which made it quite the challenge.
Let’s just say that she was several hours past bedtime by the time we boarded the plane at 11pm (the time we should’ve been arriving in Orlando originally), and that by the time we actually took off an hour after that, she was plainly delirious, overstimulated, tantrumy, and driving my wife and I bananas. I felt so bad for my daughter; there wasn’t really much she could do to weather that particular storm. She is only two, after all. We made it through the flight, obviously, but it wasn’t pretty, and I’d rather spare you the details of how many times my wife and I sighed deeply trying to keep our cool.
After making it home very late, our first day back got off to a grand start, with a notice from our development regarding the upcoming end of our lease and the ridiculously high new rates they want to charge us, to my wife’s car not starting after our week out. It was like a cold bucket of ice to the face: vacation’s over, back to the real world.
We decided the dead car could wait until we got some food, and as we were driving out my wife said, “But let’s remember the blessings we do have.” And it hit me. Yes, we’re dealing with a lot of things on our plate, a lot of stress in our lives, and certainly the last twenty-four hours were maddening, but we do have lots of blessings that help carry us through the thick and thin. I’m actually terrible at remembering this sometimes, focusing only on what’s gone wrong or not according to my plan. My wife’s words were a reminder that we have lots to be thankful for.
Life doesn’t happen according to my plans, it happens according to God’s plans. I may know this, but I don’t always remember this. And I want my life to happen according to God’s plans, for my plans to match His own. Sometimes that means setbacks and challenges that test me for reasons that I cannot fathom, and I can rage uselessly, or learn my lesson and move on. So delays may be infuriating and stressful, but I actively choose to say thanks to God, to find the lesson hidden in the tribulation, and to remember that I want my way to be His way, whatever it may bring.