Our friend really screwed up. He lives in northern Washington and he’d made a quick trip to Colorado Springs to visit a number of ministries here. We’d seen him earlier in the day, but were surprised when he called us around 8:30 that evening. He sounded somewhat worried. Explaining where he was (on the freeway, heading north), he asked, “How long does it take to get to Denver International Airport from here?”
“About an hour and a half, if traffic is good. Why? What time’s your flight?”
There was dead silence for a moment. Then he slowly told us, “I have a rental car to turn in. And my flight leaves at 9:15.”
Oh-oh. He should have been waiting at the gate already, not 70 miles south of the airport!
(How do you pray in a situation like this?)
Denver isn’t exactly an airport you can run through. The rental car return lots are far enough from the terminal that they provide bus service. When you finally get to the check-in counter, there is frequently a long line. There are long lines for security, too, and those new see-you-naked machines are slower than the old metal detectors. Then you have to go down a series of escalators to a train that takes you to the proper concourse. It all takes time. Lots of time.
(Is it okay to pray that you don’t get a speeding ticket while pushing the speed limit?)
As our friend explained further, we realized that this wasn’t just a missed flight and an inconvenient delay. The flight he was booked on would get to SeaTac airport around 10:45 p.m. Then he had a three hour drive north to his house. And at 8 a.m. the next morning. he had to leave for another three hour drive to Vancouver, B.C. catch a plane to London.
(Tickets to Europe are expensive, especially from the west coast. Is God more likely to bail you out if you’re really desperate?)
The situation was critical. While our friend drove, Pete got online and started looking at flight options. It turned out there were no seats available on any flight, on any airline heading to Seattle, for the rest of the evening.
(It was clearly his fault. Whether he lost track of time, or misread the ticket, or didn’t realize how far away the airport in Denver is… it doesn’t really matter. He screwed up and he was going to miss his flight. Is it okay for us to ask God to bail us out when we know the problem is entirely our own fault?)
Pete came up with a seat on a flight to Portland that left at 10:10. It was going to be really close. Flying to Portland instead of SeaTac, then renting a car, would add at least four hours to the three hour drive home. Sleep? Who needs sleep?
Checking a bit later… the flight to Portland was running late! In fact, our friend called from the gate—he was going to get on that flight! But he didn’t sound as excited as we’d expect. Yup… another mistake. His computer bag was still in the trunk of the rental car he’d just turned in. Their lost and found didn’t open until morning.
(God, how many times can we screw up and still ask you for a miracle?)
We learned the next day that our friend did make the flight to Portland, and also the one to London. His computer bag did not. (It is being shipped to his home in Washington).
Is it all right to ask God for help when we’re the ones who screwed up?
When don’t we screw up?
Isn’t that why Jesus died?