How can we ever know?

How can we ever in this life know when God is working something out and when He’s simply allowing something to happen?

Steve and I flew to Key West, Florida, Thursday evening. Shortly after our connecting flight left Atlanta and we arrived in Key West, we heard about the blizzard that paralyzed Hartsfield International Airport. Some passengers were stranded there for two days. We felt relieved and blessed to be enjoying the Key West sunshine.

On Sunday afternoon, I logged on to Delta to check in and be sure all was in order to fly home Monday at 12:50. The screen instead showed a large sign reading “There has been a flight cancellation affecting your trip to Atlanta, GA (ATL) on 15 Feb 2010. But don’t worry, we’ll help you get to your destination with as little inconvenience as possible.” There was a prompt to “click here for alternate flights.” The response on that page was “Sorry. There are no alternate flights. Please call your Delta agent.” Which I did.

I was told they could get us home on Wednesday rather than Monday. That was unacceptable because Steve teaches university classes all day on Tuesday, and they had already missed last Tuesday due to a snowstorm. The person at Delta said there was NO WAY to get to Cincinnati from Key West without going through Atlanta. He said he lives in Ft Lauderdale and has to fly to Atlanta to get to Tampa. Foolishly, I believed him.

So I went online to Travelocity and found a Continental flight from Key West to Fort Lauderdale airport, then a Delta flight from Fort Lauderdale to Cincinnati. Yes—Delta DOES go to Cincinnati from Florida without going through Atlanta! Seems that he would know that, living in Ft Lauderdale as he does….

So then—should we rent a car and drive the four hours to Ft Lauderdale, or take the Continental flight and pay exorbitantly to get home? Looking at the seating plan, I realized that there were only two seats left on each flight, so I bought them.

It worked beautifully. Our little prop plane to FLL was an adventure, and we had ample time to catch our Delta flight home. I knew that Cincinnati was predicted to get 6-10 inches of snow that day, so I held my breath that our flight would not be canceled. It was not, and we landed at the Greater Cincinnati International Airport with snow pouring from the skies and at least six new inches on top of last week’s snow.

The drive home was hazardous, to say the least. Even the interstates were snow-covered, with traffic moving very slowly. But we are home, safe and sound. We are grateful for four-wheel drive.

I don’t know how many times I said, “Thank you, Lord!” for helping us negotiate all that was involved in getting home. But now here we are, surrounded by 15 inches of snow, and all the university classes are canceled. Steve laughed and said, “So we could have stayed till Wednesday!”

And he’s right! So did God get us into the last two seats on each plane so we’d get home, or did He give the opportunity for two more sunny days and we rejected it? There is no way to know. All I can do it turn it over to God and work with what He sends my way. Whichever it is, I lean on Romans 8:28, as I learned it in childhood: “For we know that all things work together for good for them who love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”