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I arose early yesterday to finish packing and preparations for my late morning flight from Florida to Minnesota to lead worship at a Converge women’s retreat. After completing my work, I was able to leave earlier than I originally planned and headed on the Florida turnpike towards the Orlando airport.  Normally this trip takes less than an hour so I felt confident that I would make it to the parking location in plenty of time to grab a shuttle to the airport and check in for my flight…

… That is, until traffic came to a stop 20 miles outside of Orlando.

At first, I reassured myself that this is why I left early and I would still be ok. However, as the cars continued to crawl at a walker’s pace, the minutes sped by like rabbits on the run. An hour later I was still some 18 miles from my destination, and the navigation app on my phone showed that my arrival time at the parking lot was dangerously close to the point where I could miss my flight.

I tried everything I could do—legally—to save time. I looked for patterns in traffic and, without cutting anyone off, switched lanes when there was a safe opening. But then the flow changed, and I found myself in virtually the same relative location to the traffic from which I had merged. Nothing I could do reduced my estimated time of arrival at the airport parking lot. Mild panic started to set it.

Then a verse came to my mind:

“ But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God. My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:15a

I spoke this verse out loud in the car as a prayer and promise. “ Lord: my times are in Your hands”. I called my wife who, after hearing about my situation, prayed with me.  Then I breathed and relinquished control of my schedule to God.   Rather than thinking about the possibility of missing a flight, I focused on God’s provision and protection. I reminded myself “God’s got this under control. He’s got my back!” At that point, I paid attention to the still small voice within me (that I believe was the Holy Spirit’s guidance!) prompting me to stay in the lane I was in and trust God for the outcome. It turned out to be a good decision. A short while later a temporary sign said: “left two lanes blocked 1 mile ahead”. Even as traffic slowly merged, I looked ahead and saw road crews cleaning and clearing the road. As I approached the scene, I prayed for anyone who was affected by whatever happened there. After I passed the scene, traffic suddenly became light and resumed at the posted freeway speed. A little later I arrived at the park and ride and was able to immediately board a shuttle to the airport with enough time to check my guitar and bags.

Here is the kicker to my story: As I turned to leave for security, the airline agent told me, “Incidentally, your flight is delayed and will be 2 hours late”.

Rather than get angry, I thanked God that He already knew about this, even before the dawn of time. He showed me once again that my times are indeed are in His hands!  In the additional time at the airport, I was able to eat, get some work done, and even rest before boarding the plane a few hours later.

All of us—even worship leaders, pastors, speakers, and Christian authors—can be tempted to panic and take things into our own hands when our plans get challenged or scuttled. It’s a good reminder to us that, in times like these, God has given us a simple scripture verse that we can pray back to him. It is a verse that serves as an encouragement to our souls that we are never alone. We don’t have to figure everything out, because God already has done so.  So the next time your schedule gets derailed by circumstances beyond your control, remember and voice this scriptural prayer:

“ But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God. My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:15

God bless you!

Chris Atkins