On a Thursday in July of 1979 I was leaving Grand Junction, Colorado after conducting a prayer event there. I was to be in Seattle the next day. It was just after dinner time and our Frontier Airlines flight was the last of their scheduled flights of that day.
Eight minutes into our flight our small Convair aircraft lost its navigation equipment and we returned to land again at Grand Junction. The next minutes were filled with the voices of many of the 20 or so passengers. None were happy.
Back at the gate, everyone made a dash for the ticket agent who hadn’t even had time to wrap up her departed flight and head for a quiet night at home.
I hung back, realizing that my next assignment most likely wasn’t going to happen. This was not O’Hare or Atlanta… with flights arriving and departing at all hours of the day. And this was not fatalism on my part, just a quick recognition of the most likely outcome for all of us.
The passengers were indignant – thrown out of their expected plans. The harried gate agent explained that the plane wouldn’t be fixed, they’d be put in a nearby hotel for the night and given a voucher for a meal.
It wasn’t what anyone wanted to hear. Grumbles abounded. Veiled threats delivered. Everybody’s exasperation and vitriol were directed at the gate agent… as if she had reached up into the sky and sabotaged their trips.
I was the last one in line. The others had already gone to get their luggage and make their way to their hotel. As I approached this ‘diabolical’ lady who had sullied all their plans and probably irrevocably scarred their lives for all times, I actually felt pain for what she had just endured.
“This is why you make the fabulous salary you do” I said quietly. She looked up at me and my smile let her know I was kidding. I was just offering her grace and a brief visit to the still waters where souls can be restored.
Would you believe she stayed long enough to get me on a United flight into Las Vegas and connecting me with a flight into Seattle that night. Galatians 5:22,23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
I seldom pack a full knapsack of every one of those, but I’m thankful that I had enough patience, kindness and self-control that evening to have flown out of Grand Junction, Colorado when no one else did.