How God used TSA to remind me not to worry

I’ve been traveling for the past week, first to Seattle for an executive writing conference and then to Chicago for a regional meeting for my company. It’s been a crazy week of high stress, even though I’ve been doing my level best not to be stressed out. But travel is stressful, especially for a control freak, because there’s so much about airplane travel that you can’t control. The biggest stress factor is getting through security.

Getting through security in Wichita, Kansas, isn’t difficult. Maybe it takes 10 minutes. Maybe 15 on a bad day. But people in Wichita think 15 people is a line, sort of like we think we have traffic. If you’ve never tried to get through security in a major international airport, you won’t understand. But if you’ve travelled at all, you can identify with the photo I put up for today’s blog. I didn’t take it, and it actually doesn’t even demonstrate how busy the Seattle airport was on the day I was there. But you get the idea.

I came around the corner and saw the line in front of me and thought: “There’s no way on Earth I’m going to get through this in less than two hours.” And that’s how much time I had before my flight started boarding. Immediately, I knew I was going to miss my flight. It was going to be a nightmare. And I told myself that I should have been more demanding of the shuttle driver that he stop dawdling and get us to the airport when he’d told me he would, instead of stopping to pick up random passengers and then not dropping me off at my gate until the very last. But no, I had to be nice and sit in my seat and just take it. And what did I get for it? I was going to be late.

I was so irritated at myself. And then, I heard this little nagging voice at the back of my head. It said, “Stop being silly and pray about it.” Ever had one of those moments? When you know you should pray about something but you hesitate because you feel like a moron that you hadn’t thought of it sooner? Yeah. That was me. Moron. So I prayed (quite ashamed of myself) that God would help me somehow–miraculously–make it to my flight on time. I even texted my mom.

Then, something miraculous happened.

Just after I asked Mom to pray, I got to the little kiosk where the security dude was checking IDs. He checked mine and then inexplicably waved me to a different line than anyone else. At first, I thought something was wrong. I thought I was in trouble or I had done something I shouldn’t have. And then I saw the signs that read TSA Pre-Check. It’s a new initiative that they’re starting up apparently, and in this expedited line I didn’t have to take off my shoes, my belt, my jacket, or my hat. I didn’t have to pull out my laptop, my tablet, my phone, or any other electronics. And I didn’t have to pull out my little bag of cosmetics. I just got to throw everything on the belt and walk through the scanner, and I was done.

I texted my mom at 3:14 p.m. and asked her to pray and guess what? In a mere 12 minutes, I was through. Completely through security with no problems, no hangups, no delays, and no trouble. By all rights, I should have been in that security line for the next hour and a half easy. But somehow my boarding pass had been marked as approved for TSA Pre-Check, something the airline did without my knowledge (and only on that flight and none of the others).

I made my flight with time to spare. And I sat at my gate sipping a coffee and kicking myself, today’s verse circling my brain.

Photo of SEA-TAC airport's security line (not mine), Seattle, WA
Photo of SEA-TAC airport’s security line (not mine), Seattle, WA

Today’s verse Philippians 4:6.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

I’ve posted on this verse before, and I took up a lot of time with the story in the introduction. So I’m not going to belabor a point. I just needed to remember this. I need to remember this every day. Shoot, I need to remember it every hour.

There are so many things in my life that I want to worry about. There are so many things in my life that I want to be in control of. There are so many things in my life that I think I need to fix. The plain and simple truth is that I’m powerless to really do anything at all, and I need to fully rely on God for every step I take, every breath I breathe.

My first reaction at the length of that security line was to worry. Tell me, exactly what good did worrying about the length of that line do? Nothing. It stressed me out. It upset me. It frustrated me. I had no control over it and no way to take control. My only option would be to push through the line and ask people to move out of the way so I could get through, as if my flight was more important than theirs. Yeah, not the best witness ever.

I guess what I’m trying to get at this morning is that God already had it sorted out. I just didn’t know it. And it took TSA to help me remember that when I’m facing a challenge that I can’t control, sometimes you just need to keep moving forward and trust that it will work for the best. I was in the right place. I had done everything I could (while keeping my testimony intact) to get there on time. I just had to let God take care of the rest. And He did.

So, next time you need something, ask God for it. Don’t worry about it. Tell God about it and let Him handle it. It’s easier to say it than to do it, but whenever He works something out, it’s a lot better than when we try to go our own way.

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