We have a fixed week timeshare in Cabo San Lucas, Monday to Monday. It's almost always the second week in April and over spring break. Consequently, the airfares are often excessive and reflect the popularity of the date. We were able to book a non-stop going down, but the non-stop return was more expensive than we were willing to pay. So we chose connections through Portland.
Our middle daughter (who was with us in Cabo) is a prayer warrior. She said, “Lets pray that you can get on the non-stop flight with me. Then you can share my ride home.” And so, she did. (Matt. 7:7-12) Now, I have to pause here and express my discomfort with this type of prayer. I was raised to pray for others, for starving children in other countries, our sick brothers and sisters, our church, and world peace. I was not raised to pray for a flight upgrade to Seattle.
We went up to the ticket agent to check our luggage. I chickened out and did not ask about the non-stop flight. But Carol asked. The agent looked at us annoyed. “I don’t know if I can do that here.” Not true. She could easily have checked availability. She just didn’t want to. “You can call customer service or do it online.” We told her about the six hour wait on the phone. Then she pointed at our daughter who had a phone in her hand. “She can help you!” We just shook our heads. This wasn’t working. She didn’t want to help. Then she said that there would be a $125 per person change fee. Defeated, we checked our luggage and resigned ourselves to a stopover. Our attempt to manipulate the system failed.
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV
We went through security and waited in the terminal. After an hour of waiting at the gates, I received an email: “Your flight is delayed.” A half hour later another email: “Your flight is cancelled.” Oh, boy. Now what? Fifteen minutes later, another email: “We apologize for your cancelled flight. You’ve been rebooked on the non-stop to Seattle. However, you will have to recheck your luggage.” Good news but also confusion. What do we need to do with our luggage? I went to the gate.
The agent had just arrived and clearly did not want to deal with me. I explained our situation, and he told me that when a flight is cancelled, the luggage is returned to the ticketing area. What? What do we need to do? It meant leaving the security area, going down to ticketing, finding our luggage, and then going back through security. Then he got back on the phone, typed madly on his keyboard, and ignored me. I stood there for ten minutes hoping to get his attention.
Finally, with anxious people lining up behind me, he put down his phone, handed me two boarding passes, and said that our luggage would be on this plane. I was dumbstruck. I thanked him sincerely, and he had just a hint of a smile.
We eventually filed onto the skyway and as we entered the plane, the flight attendant said, “Masks are optional!” This was maybe three hours after the federal judge’s decision. We were in the last row. The lavatories were beside us and behind us. The flight was full. Carol and I prepared ourselves to welcome a 280 lb. linebacker as our row companion. The plane filled. The doors closed. And Carol and I had three seats to ourselves! Wow! Our flight attendant was fun and generous. He gave us tapas for free, and an entertaining flight.
What is the message? Our prayer was to get on the non-stop flight. What God gave us was a non-stop flight without a change fee, a row to ourselves, free food and entertainment, and a free ride home. Did I even think to ask for those extras? God often blesses us in ways much greater than we even dare to imagine.
How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him. Matt. 7:11 NIV
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV