It was a very loud noise.
I was in the middle of the plane, and didn’t hear it. But those sitting in the back did, including, as it so happened, an off-duty airplane steward. I saw him rush to the front of the plane and confer with the on-duty crew, and then shortly make this announcement:
“Everything is okay. Just like your car doors have seals that come loose and make noise, the back of the plane seems to have a seal that is loose, creating the loud noise you hear. We’ve been advised to land in St. Louis for maintenance instead of proceeding to Denver.”
And thus began the detour. We schedule for one destination; we arrive in another.
Does it matter why? Sometimes, yes; sometimes, no. What matters most is how we respond to the detour.
God doesn’t always give us the explanation, or even usually so. I think he’s more interested if we’re trusting him or not. We often don’t even know our own level of faith, until we’re in a situation where it can be proven or disproven.
If we think we have to figure it all out first, we’ve missed the point of relationship. Can I be grateful even when I can’t see a reason for the detour? Do I have to know all the answers myself, or can I be at peace trusting that God knows?
God uses (and sometimes creates) life’s detours and delays for our good and his glory. They’re going to come to everybody. And they’re handled best by going with the flow instead of heading into frustration. I want to trust the one with the bigger flight plan. He knows the best route to get us where he wants us to go.
In the end, my airplane needed more maintenance than the 30 minute delay we were promised, so we were diverted to another plane. Most of the passengers handled the detour well, especially those with no connecting flights ahead of them. (Perhaps a thought of landing in the Hudson River made our side excursion a little easier? Captain Sully would have been proud of the calm of our crew.)
Me? The detour cost us a little time getting to our final destination. But the benefits were greater: a chance to stretch our legs at the St. Louis airport, to watch a few minutes of Kurt Warner playing in the NFC championship game (and later winning!), and a Milky Way candy bar.
And maybe that’s all I need to know.