Have you ever been out of town when it seems like all Hades breaks loose at home? Our family always plans for the most unexpected things when I’m gone over the summer. One year my wife went into pre-term labor while I was on a mission trip. Another year the wheel fell off our car as my wife drove over the JFK Causeway, almost sending her and my two young sons over the edge of the bridge and into the Gulf. One year our city was evacuated for a hurricane the day before we were to leave…
My wife has learned to be pretty resourceful in my absence. She stopped her labor. She towed the car. She packed camp luggage amidst our evacuation supplies and left me there when she returned home. She is a fully capable woman who doesn’t need me to fix one thing for her. Usually she is fixing stuff for me.
But that never impedes my feeling like I MUST DO SOMETHING when things go amiss and I’m away from home.
This year, my wife didn’t go to camp with us. She had an opportunity to participate in a ministry opportunity that we knew had been given by God – so she abandoned her plans join us in Colorado for a week of adventure camp in order to pursue a different call God had given her. (Incidentally, in twenty years, I’ve done this trip five times and she’s never been able to attend…a fact she rarely lets me forget!) The day before she was to fly out, she found out a clerical error had been made and her flight had not been booked. Now in a normal city, this might not be such a big deal. But we live on the edge of the earth. It can be difficult to get flights to and from anywhere on any kind of time schedule that’s convenient for the receiving end of the flight. Not only that, but she was FINALLY going to get to join me for this amazing camp opportunity – and it appeared that she had foregone that opportunity for nothing.
In addition, she woke up with an abscessed tooth. I knew when I got the text saying she was going to the dentist, it was bad. Have you seen those cartoons where the title character gets hit in the face with a frying pan and his or her teeth just crumble into a billion pieces as they fall out of said mouth? Yeah, that could happen to Katie and she STILL wouldn’t go to the dentist.
So a perfect storm had ensued at home – I was stuck on the side of a mountain three states away and in roaming service, if I was lucky enough to have service at all. There was literally not a thing I could do. I was sharing this frustration with my leadership team…in a very frustrated way. One of my leaders said ’Wow – my cousin works at such-and-such airline, but they don’t fly out of Corpus. I wish I could pull some strings for you.’ Then, in an amazing display of wisdom, she said ‘I guess we just need to pull the right strings. We should pray.’
Duh. What a doofus. Griping had been my string of choice. Praying, honestly and ashamedly, hadn’t even occurred to me. I didn’t need to fix a thing. Not because my wife is like the MacGyver of youth ministry spouses. Not because it was up to me to make something happen. Not because we had planned for every eventuality. Simply because God was in control.
I seem to forget – on a pretty regular basis – that nothing in my life takes Him by surprise. All my days are numbered – he knows all my hairs, gray and otherwise – not a tooth falls to the ground that He doesn’t know about it. He had it all under control – even if it didn’t turn out the way WE had envisioned it would.
So I just spent the next few hours praying in between hiking, luggage unloading, cooking dinner, and sitting in the Jacuzzi (hey – I had already spent my one night in a tent!) When I finally got cell service again – a ticket had been purchased, a tooth had been pulled, a prescription had been administered and luggage was locked and loaded and waiting for the airport. Apparently, not only do I have a MacGyver-wife, I also have a MacGyver God. May I never forget it!