1st March 2014

When your Flight Doesn’t Go Your Way

After 10 days in the USA I was looking forward to the flight back home. Leaving Washington DC in the early evening, it was re-assuring to hear the captain announce that the return journey to Germany would take an hour less than expected. Not being one who finds it easy to sleep on a plane and wanting to have the peace of mind that we would have plenty of time to catch our connecting flight from Frankfurt to Malta, this was welcome news.

After dinner, the cabin lights were turned off and the passengers settled down to watch a film on their screen or to sleep.  About 2 and a half hours into the flight ,when the Jumbo Jet had already started to cross the Atlantic, the captain announced that due to a medical emergency on board we would have to turn back and land in Newfoundland, Canada. Whilst of course this was totally justified to save the life of the passenger, it still meant that our flight not only was going to take much longer than the original scheduled time, but that we were going to miss the connecting flight.  In effect we would need to spend a whole day at Frankfurt airport waiting for the evening flight back to Malta.

Indeed this was a small price to pay compared to saving the life of a passenger. However it didn’t mean that it didn’t create an amount disruption for us. To make matters worse we landed in extreme weather conditions so the diversion wasn’t pleasant ride.

But I stopped to reflect. The Good Shepherd leaves the 99 for the sake of the 1 and this plane crew inconvenienced over 300 passengers to make sure that the person got to hospital as soon as possible.  Jesus gave so much more: the Son of God gave his very life on the cross to save us and he would have done it if we were the only person to save.

Eventually, in prayer,  I made peace with the situation. Despite the outside turbulence that the plane experienced  2 hours later as it shot through the dark skies over the Atlantic ocean and made a difficult landing,  an inner tranquility pervaded my heart. When things don’t go the way you really wish them to – and that happens to all of us – we can still find the peace of God within our hearts in communion with Him, that ‘peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’ (Phil 4:7).