I was planning to write to you from Africa this week, only, God had other plans. It’s a long story, really, so I’ll try and break it down into one, simple paragraph. Here goes!
I was booked on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, leaving on Thursday, March 23rd. While connecting through Atlanta, all of that changed. On two consecutive nights, my flights were bumped. To make matters more interesting, the airline could not get my family on another Johannesburg bound flight until the next Monday or Tuesday, which put us some five days behind on an already tight Spring Break schedule. How could we keep this holiday moving forward?
To answer that question, let me take you back to the airport in Atlanta, where God sent me a sweet reminder of His faithfulness. I recall standing with a kind Delta employee during my family’s second attempt at flying out. This guy was a big man with a booming voice. In the middle of the international terminal, he started singing worship songs to me. As I waited on answers from the ticket desk, my friend stood by my side and shared his story of faith, and how leaning in to God’s redirections had led him toward a deeper spiritual walk, and a life of fulfillment. He explained that God’s redirections are not rejections; that our perceived setbacks are God’s way of setting us up for better things. His testimony was incredible — not just in content — but also in timing.
There we were, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, as I was alerted that there were no flights to Africa until the next week. My new friend said, “Maybe God doesn’t want you to go to Africa right now. It seems that He is redirecting you, too.” I looked at him and said, “I think you’re absolutely right.”
My family then left the airport. It was midnight when we checked back in to our hotel and began praying for where in the world we might go. It seemed that God had other plans for our Spring Break 2017, and we were intrigued to discover just what those plans would be.
As it turned out, God’s plan was to have my family hike through green Chilean forests, fish in Chilean rivers and traverse the river rapids. It appears that He desired for us to rest by His lakes, while finding renewed rest in Him. That’s exactly what we, as a family, have done. And, it’s been beautiful.
There is so much I would have missed had I ignored God’s signs of redirection.
If I had ignored this divine redirection; had I ignored what I believe was angelic intervention in the Atlanta airport — I would have missed this unexpected blessing of being in Chile, right now, and writing to you.
I would have missed these moments of exploration in the forest, of being lost in awe of God’s creation. I would have missed discovering new truths about God’s limitless wonder. I would have missed the message of trusting God’s plans over those of my own.
It’s true — I was not expecting to spend our family break in Chile. I had planned for Africa, packed for Africa, and prayed for Africa. Yet, God gave me a gentle nudge in that airport terminal, and I listened. His prompting came in the form of a luggage assistant who had a story of how God had redirected his life. That story encouraged me to move along a different direction. Which, is why I’m in Chile … and exactly where God knew that I needed to be.
Sometimes God redirects us with gentle guidance, and other times His redirection might include pain and the embarrassment of failing at something we’ve worked hard at realizing. One thing is for sure, God’s redirection will always ask of us to let go of our preconceived notions and expectations. Redirection from the Father will always ask of us to surrender and to trust.
- Trust God that everything happens for a reason.
- Trust that God has your best interests as His top priority.
- Trust that God’s results can heal even your deepest regrets.
I don’t regret not making it to Africa during this Spring Break because the results of being in Chile have put a deep and lasting imprint upon my heart. I trust that God is using this imprint for His glory. I may not know how or when, but I know that God is at work!
In Chile, I’ve had the privilege of examining the intricate workings of lichen on trees. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of listening to the rhythmic sounds of woodpeckers in the forest. It’s been a gift to slow down in this way; to be still and know that He is God. Which is the only truth that I really need…
And, as we enter into the Easter season..I pray that you would listen to God’s redirections in your life. How is He moving you toward a greater way? How might you see His redirection as — not a rejection — but a confirmation that something better is on the way? How might God’s redirection bring you closer to Him and to your ultimate purpose in this life?
I believe that when God asks for something different, or more, in our lives it’s because He holds a bigger dream than what we’ve allowed ourselves to envision. I cannot help but hear this message from God as I hike the forests of Chile. He wants more of me — of my family — and it’s why He redirected us to this place: in order to hear Him differently, perhaps even more clearly than ever before…and to respond.
Onward to responding,