Everything seemed to be going according to plan. We had finished worshiping with the church in Dublin, caught the city tram, taken the train down to Cork and made it to the airport in good time. By this time my sister and I fancied ourselves old pros at flying, and as we found our gate and heard people around us talking in Spanish, I was daydreaming about how nice it would be to arrive in Spain. Ah, the sunny homeland of my second language—I couldn’t wait to get there! And yet as we stood in line to board the plane, I was suddenly brought back to reality.
“I can’t let you on” the stewardess said, after looking at our boarding passes. We were incredulous. Whatever had we done wrong? “You didn’t get your passports checked, so I can’t let you on the flight.” We frantically asked if there was time to run back and do that before the flight left, but there was no way—by that time the Ryanair plane would be well on its way, aiming to land ahead of schedule amid classical music and applause by the jostled passengers.
We went to the ticket counter to ask if there was any chance for a refund, but it was futile—we had missed the flight by no fault of theirs, so if we wished to leave Ireland, we would have to book another flight.
We were crushed. What to do now? All those plans we had for Spain were lost. We had no place to sleep that night in Ireland. We were stranded in a friendly, but foreign country. We sat down in the airport and tried to think rationally, but it was hard. I blamed my sister for not remembering the protocol for international flights. We were both disgruntled. As I sought comfort, my first thought was to call our mother. There was free Wi-Fi at the airport, my sister’s iPod had Skype and she had some earphones with a microphone. But it was only wishful thinking. She had never used Skype on her iPod before, and why would our mother be on at this time anyway?
It all worked out in the end. We went back to the hostel in Cork where we had stayed before, and used their computer to book another flight to Spain for two days later, and they were kind enough to print out the boarding passes for us. We stayed there and spent two more leisurely days in southern Ireland, renting bikes and pedalling through Killarney National Park. We finally got to Spain, although by then we had less than 24 hours before our next flight to take us back to Belgium, and there was no way to do what we had originally planned.
But this incident got me to thinking. When I had hit this low spot, where did I try to turn? To my mother. She’s the one who would comfort me, tell me everything would be all right, and help me think straight. And mothers are wonderful for that sort of thing, but I also realized that I had ignored the greatest comfort of all, that of God. What if my sister and I, after being refused at the boarding gate, and sat down and prayed for strength and guidance? Surely that would have helped put things in perspective for us, and helped us get our priorities straight.
So when you’re at a low point in your life, and things are just not going well at all, who do you call? Someone on earth, or the Father in Heaven who is ready to help us when we ask?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV)