A Honey of a Mess
by Jill Briscoe
Stuart was driving me to the airport to go to Dallas. I stuffed some mail and a jar of honey into my carry-on purse and ran into church on the way to drop them off. I left the letters, but forgot the honey.
I forgot I had forgotten the honey and boarded the plane unaware that the jar of honey was still in my purse. Unbeknownst to me, it was happily coating everything in my big carry-on purse! In the pocket of the small computer bag I took onboard with me were three hard-copy chapters of a book I was writing on Ecclesiastes that I wanted to edit on the journey.
Unaware of the sticky mess under my seat, I gathered my things together as we landed at Dallas Fort Worth Airport and opened my carry-on to get out the information I needed to meet with the people taking me to Tyler, Texas for my first meeting. UGH!
I made a beeline for the ladies room and began furiously washing off what I could and stuffing paper towels in the sticky mess that was left, wondering if the people were still waiting on their guest speaker to turn up. I did the best I could and ran down the escalator to the baggage claim not realizing that in my haste I had left my computer on the washbasin!
I didn’t find that out until I arrived in Tyler two hours away! Fred, my gracious host, looked at my horrified face and simply said, “You’ve come here to talk about ‘Prayer That Works,’ Jill; let’s do it!” He prayed for my lost computer with so much writing, sermons, work, etc. (not all backed up) recorded in its clever little mind.
Thus began three days of ministry punctuated with frantic calls to the airport that proved fruitless and frustrating. We discovered that lost items from my terminal were sent to another terminal and put in a lock box on the concourse until Friday rolled around, and then transported to yet another terminal. I couldn’t get a real live person to go and unlock the box and look inside!
Between teachings from Philippians about how to overcome worry, rejoice in trouble, and enjoy the peace that passed understanding, I called every security guard I could get hold of at the airport - or so it seemed, to no avail!
When we eventually got hold of a real live person, we were told the famous ‘lock box’ that just “might” contain my precious computer was on the other side of the airport from the lost-and-found place we had been talking to! There was no thought of their looking for us. “Get the tram,” I wanted to shout into the phone —“like we passengers do!” There was nothing to do but continue to preach on “patience and forbearance” to hundreds of ladies who seemed to be perfectly patient and forbearing (unlike me), and wait until I left Dallas.
When my patient daughter-in-law took me to the airport, we left an hour earlier than the early arrival time required, so I could go in person to ALL the lost and founds and assorted lock boxes at the airport. With my eye on the clock, I tracked down the famous lock box by the gate where I had come in and where I was leaving and gazed hungrily at the padlock! However, I now had only 20 minutes to get on the plane. I looked at the gate, thinking I would beg the girl to hold the plane and open the box or find someone else who had been trained to (how hard could it be?), and saw there was no one at the desk. I looked at the monitor and discovered they had changed the gate for my plane from one to ten! I now had only 15 minutes before the flight left.
I lumbered down the corridor, like a plane that was too old and too heavy to get off the ground, and arrived at Gate 10.
“You’re out of breath,” one of the desk people said accusingly! I sputtered, “Well I lost my computer on Sunday, and I have been looking on every wing of this airport and didn’t have a chance to look in the lock box by the gate I came in at, because you changed the gate to number 10!“
“What is your computer like?” asked the other agent.
“It’s a Compaq.”
“Name on it?”
“No,” I said, “But there is a file in the pocket with Ecclesiastes written on it.” Seeing the blank faces, I muttered, “It’s a book in the Bible.”
“I have your computer,” exclaimed the agent! “It’s in my personal locker.” I was struck dumb. “It was brought to me Sunday night,” she said. “I couldn’t find a name on it, but I looked in the file in the pocket and said to my friend, ‘This person is writing about God! This is an important computer. I must find the person.’”
For two days this woman tried to trace me through old Delta tickets she found stuffed in the pocket of the computer. She got a phone number from Delta and tried to phone my home, but she got no reply!
“Why didn’t you put it in the lock box?” I asked, clutching my computer.
“They only pick up every Friday,” she answered, “And I didn’t want to chance leaving it there.”
I thanked her, making little appreciative sounds, gushing loving sentiments, and got on the plane. Five minutes later she arrived at my seat, 13A, and said in a loud voice, “You must understand I would have turned your computer in on Friday—I just wanted to find you and make sure you got it back.” Then loudly, “As I said to my friend, ‘she’s writing about GOD!’” Then she left, leaving half the people around me hastily diving behind their newspapers, and the rest gazing at this little old lady sitting stunned in her seat clutching her precious work ( not backed up!) and marveling at such an incredible answer to prayer.
All this to say, despite my irresponsibility, the Lord continues to take such good care of me. He answers prayers in ways I neither deserve nor have earned. It’s all grace! It also amazes me that God goes to such lengths to turn our failings into blessing for others, and I think of the three chapters of Ecclesiastes read by people who perhaps would never know about the wonderful words of Solomon, who found purpose and meaning not in wealth and riches but in fearing the Living God.
I think too of how God hates losing things that are precious to Him and understands when we lose things that are precious to us-- and how He is a seeking and finding God. I am encouraged by His care for the details of our lives and how He answers the cries of His children - even when we don’t deserve it.
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