I was leaving North Carolina to meet my wife, Miss Debbie, in Manila, Philippines. It had been four months since I had seen my wife and family. I had been in America giving mission reports to our supporters about our work in Palawan Island. Miss Debbie stayed behind in the Philippines to oversee the ministry in my absence. We were looking forward to spending three weeks together, which included starting another enrollment of Bible College, youth conferences, and trying to squeeze in a few days of vacation with our adopted children.
The flight from Charlotte to Detroit was scheduled to depart at 12:30 in the afternoon. My luggage was loaded to the weight limit with ministry supplies and unique gifts to my children from America. The seventy pounds per bag weight limit tipped the scale after discarding a few cans of field peas and other American foods I took to Miss Debbie.
After a long check-in and body searches at the Charlotte airport, I finally settled down in the waiting area, watching travelers go by. I was not looking forward to the long trip ahead. It takes 28 to 36 hours of travel and layover time from Charlotte to Manila. The first flight was a short one to Detroit, but it was a thirteen-hour flight to Japan to catch another connecting five-hour flight to Manila.
Five minutes before boarding time, the airline attendant’s voice came over the speakers and said our flight had been delayed. He said, “Everyone with connecting flights out of Detroit, please come to the service desk so that we may give you instructions or connect you to another flight.” He said that our flight had been delayed for two and a half hours.
I approached the desk and showed the attendant my boarding passes. He looked at the computer screen and said, “Mr. Dix, I am sorry to tell you, but you will not be leaving today. There are no other flights that I can put you on, and the flight leaving for Manila is scheduled to leave on time. There is no possibility of making it there in time. This flight will not arrive there until 4:15, and your flight leaves from Detroit at 3:45. I will make arrangements for you to stay over in Charlotte, and you will leave on tomorrow afternoon’s flight. You will be one day late arriving, so you might want to call and change your reservations.”
I looked at the desk attendant and said, “Sir, I must be on that plane today. My wife is on her way to meet me in Manila, and I must be there”. He said, “I am sorry, but you will not make it. “ I said, “but I have got to make it. You just don’t understand, I must be in Manila tomorrow to meet my wife. My children and family have waited long enough for me to come home; I must be there on time.” The attendant said, “Do you want to go for it? You will not make that flight, but if you would like to try, I will just leave things like they are and you can deal with it when you get to Detroit”. I said, “Let me go for it.”
As I was sitting in the lobby waiting on the delayed flight, I thought to myself, how many times have I been here before? How often in the past years have people tried to explain to me all the impossibilities of what I wanted to accomplish on the mission field. How often have they told me there was no way out of a bad situation? How many times have they given me the same old excuses trying to explain their failures?
Things have changed now. I have learned a different way. Those words of doubt and trouble used to work on me but not anymore! I have learned to trust in the Lord, and things are just about to change. No matter what the attendant said, no matter what things look like, learning to trust in Him changes everything. As I was sitting in the lobby, I bowed my head and prayed, “God, I have been away from my wife and children for four months now, and I know in my heart that it is your will for me to be united with my family. Lord, thank you for working things out for me again. In the name of Jesus, I trust you to make it happen again.
We arrived in Detroit at 4:10 pm. I grabbed my carry-on bags out of the storage bin overhead. With boarding pass in hand, I stood in the isle patiently waiting to be first off the plane so I could get to my connecting gate. We stood in the aisle for five minutes, and the captain’s voice came over the speakers and told us there was a problem with opening the plane’s door. Another five minutes passed, and I could hear the attendant’s voice speaking to me in Charlotte, “there is no way, sir; no way you will catch that plane.” I spoke out loud and said, “Devil shut up, you know who you are messing with now. No longer am I a defeated person begging God for a miracle anymore. My Lord is working in my life, and He will change this situation”.
Finally, the doors opened, and I made my way up the loading dock to the inside of the Detroit airport. An attendant was waiting at the door and directing people trying to catch connecting flights. I showed her my boarding pass, and she said, “Sir, your flight has already left, but go to gate number 34, and they will tell you what to do. I ran through the vast Detroit airport. Even though they had told me there was no way to catch the flight, the plane had already left, you won’t make it, I still found myself running through the airport to catch that plane. This is how people that operate in faith think. We never leave it in the hands of people but trust in the working power of our Lord. We learn how to follow God in all our ways, and the Lord directs our paths.
I turned the corner of gate 34, and two airline attendants stood at the counter. I walked up, looked out the window, and there was my plane still sitting there. Both of them looked at me in shock, as if to say, “what are you doing here?”
One of the attendants was dressed in a nice suit, so I showed her my pass and said, “Miss, is that my flight? My plane was two hours late leaving Charlotte, North Carolina, and we had just arrived here. Can I get on that plane? The lady looked at me and said, “This flight had already pulled out onto the runway and was forced to return to the loading shoot because of a medical problem with a passenger. We have already boarded all passengers, but let me see what I can do”. She turned, entered her security code, and went down the chute to the plane.
The other lady looked at me and said, “Wow, this is your lucky day, and you asked the right one to help you. You have just talked to the number one supervisor of the airline here. She was brought down here because that plane had to be brought back to the airport after entering the runway.
There seems to be a minor health problem with a passenger. Today is your lucky day”. I looked at the desk attendant and said, “Lucky, you call that luck? No, this is not my lucky day. I want you to know that I am blessed like this all the time. I live like this now. Just stand there and watch me get on this plane. I operate in the faith of the Highest God. He will get me on that plane, stand and watch”. The supervisor came out and said, “Sir, your seat is still there, and we will let you enter the plane, but we are sorry to tell you that your luggage will not get to Manila until tomorrow.” I assured her that I understood and thanked her for helping me.
I walked onto the plane with my carry-on bags in hand and a big smile on my face. The people sitting in their seats looked at me, and I could see they were trying to figure out where I came from. Some gave me tiger looks like I had something to do with this plane being one hour late departing on its international flight. I just smiled and greeted everyone because I indeed had something to smile about!
Would God hold up four hundred people, an airline schedule, and cause all this turmoil just for one missionary? Sure, He would, especially if you are walking with Him.
Cramming my bags overhead, I proceeded to the bathroom at the end of the plane. The flight attendant stopped me at the bathroom door and asked if I had just boarded the plane. I explained to her that I had been delayed in Charlotte. I wondered why the aircraft was returned to the loading chute, and she said, “the plane was hot.” She said, “for some reason, the air conditioning stopped working for a few moments, and the temperatures inside the plane got hot. There was an older gentleman who seemed to be uncomfortable because of the warm air, so they brought the plane back to the loading chute to make sure he could make the long trip without any medical problems.” The attendant looked at me and said, “You are so lucky today to have made this flight. I said, “Lucky, there wasn’t any luck involved. I have learned how to simply trust my Lord. Time after time, this has happened to me. When we know how to walk in faith, things in our life change. Impossibilities, fear, doubt, and obstacles of Satan step aside for those who find it.
We are not beggars; we don’t need to borrow or mooch off others for their blessings. We just walk in the faith of the Highest God. When we learn these secrets, blessings overtake us, unusual things manifest around us, and nobody seems to explain why we get all those blessings. Lucky day, you call that luck? I don’t think so; it’s just another day in the life of those that have found the secrets to faith. By the way, I arrived in Manila and met my wife on time. We proceeded to our island, and the luggage got there two days later. The airline apologized, paid the extra weight charges, and gave me 5000 extra travel miles on my travel awards. Lucky day? Do you call that luck?