Lucky

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about creating memorials to God’s faithfulness. I then told a story about our trip to Costa Rica, and how God showed up in incredible ways. Here is another story, about what happened when it was time for Pete to fly home from the 1995 conference in Korea that I mentioned a bit ago:

Pete had been gone for six long weeks, and the kids and I were eagerly anticipating his homecoming. I’d had a dream that he missed his flight, and I was so agitated that I emailed him and urged him to allow extra time for the airport. As a result, he left the hotel two hours earlier than normal.

As directed, he took a taxi to the City Air Terminal in downtown Seoul to check in for his flight. Amazingly, the taxi driver got lost trying to find the airport! It took an extra half hour to get there. Then, City Air Terminal employees sent Pete trundling from floor to floor, dragging his heavy luggage, looking for his airline check-in counter until, after another half hour delay, they finally decided that Continental Airlines didn’t have a counter at this terminal, and they should have immediately put him on a bus to the international airport outside the city.

As the only bus passenger, Pete enjoyed the bus driver’s superhuman efforts to make up lost time, but it looked bleak: two traffic accidents clogged the already congested freeways. The bus driver even radioed ahead, attempting to make sure the plane would be held in case there was a problem.

Finally there, Pete rushed into the main airport, only to arrive at a dark empty counter. Where was everyone? He finally found a manager who said, politely but firmly, “I’m very sorry, you are much too late. Check-in is closed, the airplane doors are shut!”

It seemed that the airline had reversed the 50 minute delay that had been in place for two days, and confirmed by phone only hours earlier. A walkie-talkie check confirmed… “Yes, the plane has now pulled back from the gate.”

Pete almost lost his grip at that point, especially since the next flight wasn’t for two whole days. Because he had used frequent flier miles to “buy” his ticket, they couldn’t just put him on another airline.

What to do? Well, he could get upset, or he could pray. So Pete prayed quickly, and God helped him stay calm. He was then sent to the airline office, where he waited around for an employee to arrive—and used the time to pray some more.

An agent from another airline walked over. He had a direct light only one day later, but Pete would need approval to board on his free ticket. At least that gave some hope.

Suddenly, the Continental manager came running. “I can’t believe how lucky you are! The flight developed a minor problem while taxiing. It is now back at the gate. I have received approval to send you immediately through customs. You may board your flight now.” And Pete’s voice echoed in the empty terminal… “Praise God!!!”

What a walk to the flight. Everyone along the way—tax agents, customs officials, gate agents, flight attendants, all shook their heads in wonder and said “Soooo lucky!!” And Pete replied, “Lucky? God did it!”

As Pete happily boarded the plane, everyone was staring at him. He realized that the other passengers hadn’t received an explanation for their aborted take-off. With no other information available, everyone was now assuming that the flight had been recalled from the runway just so he could get on! Every passenger was wondering what kind of celebrity or government official he could be. But we know the answer to that—he’s a child of the King!

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