Another Fine Mess I Got Into!

Another Fine Mess I Got Into!

I drove along the motorway, imagining what the next week might look like. A comfortable apartment, with no need to get up at silly-o’clock in the morning; lazy walks along the sea-front against a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery; a glass of wine perhaps as we tasted some local culinary delicacies; exploring the old city and soaking in the atmosphere of a very different culture. In short, a week to breathe. Peace and relaxation in ample supply. All we had to do was catch our flight, and off to beautiful, sunny Croatia we would go. At least, that was the theory.

We were already cutting it a bit fine getting to the airport on time. But we’d be OK, so long as the traffic was in our favour. And it was - phew! So now all we had to do was find the long-stay car park. Simple. I’ve never not found an airport car park. Who in their right mind can’t find an airport car park?! The post-code had been typed into the SatNav, so what could go wrong?...

At times of high tension, you can rely on an Englishman to stay cool, can't you?

Exit the motorway. Left at the roundabout. Carry on for 2 miles, then left and second right. Stop. This looks remarkably like a housing estate. Re-enter the post-code; “Your destination is 15 minutes away.” Aaah! But don’t worry, we’ve got time. Over several roundabouts, then a right turn. Continue for 2 miles. My, the Hertfordshire countryside is beautiful! I look up and see a plane. That’s reassuring. Except it’s going in the opposite direction. Anxiety levels rising. Surely no need to panic? After all, these car parks are often miles away from the airport, aren’t they? But this country road is getting narrower and narrower…in fact, it’s more of a track. Airport car parks are not normally at the end of country tracks alongside empty fields - are they? “Darling, have you seen ANY signs for the car park?” We sat staring into a field full of cows. Not cars, cows. Re-enter the post-code. “Post-code not found.” It dawned on us; we were totally lost.

They say that at moments of high tension, when the chips are down and a cool head is needed, you can rely on an Englishman to take the situation in hand. Well, I’d like to meet that man! “That’s it!” I exclaimed. “We’re going to miss our flight, we’ll have to stay overnight in Luton (not Split – Luton!), book another flight – if we can get another flight - pay hundreds extra, and our holiday is ruined!” I gripped the steering wheel as tightly as I could, drove off like a really ticked-off Lewis Hamilton, muttering doom and gloom under my breath…ok, not so under my breath! The world was about to end. The apocalypse had finally arrived.

It was at this point that my lovely wife intervened; “Pete, don’t be so negative! We’ll catch our flight and have a wonderful holiday! Stop worrying!” For some reason, this only served to make me more ticked-off. I gripped the wheel even harder and drove off this time like a Lewis Hamilton who had gone well past ‘ticked-off’ and was now officially ‘steaming.’ And then a thought occurred to me.

God isn’t the least bit phased or intimidated by our messes and failures

And the thought was this. How about I invite the Holy Spirit into this situation? What if I just step back for a few moments and give it to God? What – you mean, now?. When I’m angry and negative, and actually a little embarrassed at my reaction? Ok, here goes; “Jesus, I pray that we won’t miss this flight.” And then the ‘punchline’ prayer; “And I pray that even if we do miss it, you’ve got something better in store for us. You’ll work things out, because You are good and You work all things for good. So right now I trust in Your goodness.” I loosened my iron-like grip on the steering wheel, the spirit of a crazed racing driver departed. And suddenly I had perspective again.

This is what the Bible says about tests;

“Each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape, that will bring you out of it victoriously.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 The Passion Translation.

The lessons I learnt that day were many. ‘Why don’t I listen more to my wife?’ was one of them, suggested - funnily enough - by my wife! But I found it amazing how God, right in the middle of one of my less-glorious moments, should gently stir my heart and offer me a way out of the self-inflicted mess I was wallowing in.

It is true that faith cannot exist in the same place at the same time as anxiety, worry, negativity or fear. One of them has to go, and we have the power to choose which. Even more amazing than this, God sees our weakness, is totally unphased by it, and invites us into His presence despite our mess, ‘warts n’ all.’ And then He gently offers us a way of ‘escape’ back into the truth.

Tests come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. What test are you facing today? It may be huge and potentially life-changing. Or it may be, in the scheme of things, small - as was mine. At these times remember; you have a God who loves you to bits, who longs for you to come into His presence with whatever ‘baggage’ you happen to be carrying, and who delights in gently guiding you in the way of peace, joy and righteousness.

So, what happened, I hear you ask?! Well, we eventually found the car park, but turned up at the airport 10 minutes before our flight was due to leave. No chance of catching the flight, then, eh? Wrong!...Our flight had been delayed by one hour, for some reason that was never made clear! So, we caught our flight after all. God is So good


Every blessing

Pastor Pete