International Ministries

Can You Thank God For Answered Prayer?

July 11, 2015 Journal
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A few weeks ago as I was traveling to the northeast from OH (by way of Fort Lauderdale, FL!), the flight coming off the layover was delayed. We were initially scheduled to leave at 6:55 PM, but were told the plane would not leave until 8:20 PM. 8:20 became 9:15, then 9:30. Eventually, we needed new pilots to arrive. Then a new crew. We finally took flight at 11:10 PM. After a 6-hour layover, I was thoroughly exhausted by the time I arrived to my destination at 3:00 AM.


Just a week later, I flew again, this time to MO. The layover was in Chicago and had the second flight been on time, it likely would have been boarding by the time I reached the gate. However, a mechanical problem in the plane had it grounded for a while. Once again, the departure time got moved back, this time in 15-minute increments, and I had a slew of emails informing me of new departure times. But as we waited, I considered that before the flight into Chicago, I had prayed, as I often did when flying, that if anything would go wrong, whether due to human error, terrorism, weather, mechanical problems, or any other reason, that the plane wouldn't even take off. So, there we were in Chicago waiting on a mechanical problem that eventually necessitated a switch in aircraft. But I thanked God for His answer to my prayer. The layover lasted  5 hours and 45 minutes and I was glad to settle into sleep when I finally reached the hotel in Missouri.


Eight days later, I departed Kansas City International Airport on a flight headed for a stopover in Charlotte. After a packed week beginning with the American Baptist Biennial Mission Summit in Kansas, followed by extensive travel through Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, I was ready to be home. But, once again, I prayed, "If anything would go wrong…"


In Charlotte, we were informed that there was an issue with a brake computer in one of the wheels (computer in one of the brakes?) on the plane. Attempts at fixing it failed, and a new part was brought in. All in all, the delay was comparatively short - about a 2.5 hour layover - though we took off only about 20 minutes before we were originally scheduled to land. Still, I was thankful that the problem was discovered before we took flight.


Delays are not convenient. Each time I arrived at my destination, I was tired - even more so from the extended travel time - but delays can be an answer to prayer. How many times, after an accident or tragedy, is the question asked, "Why didn't God do something to prevent this from happening?" In Chicago, and in Charlotte, God did something. 


Life is not always smooth sailing (or flying). There are bumps, roadblocks, and setbacks. Things often happen differently than we plan. But even in the midst of heartache, frustrations, and disappointment, consider that a change in your plans may actually be God enacting His Divine Plan. Even when things are not as you expected them to be, can you thank God that they may be exactly as He would have them to be - that they may, in fact, be an answer to prayer?


"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." (Gen 50:30, NKJV)