Black Friday



Saturday, November 25, 2017


Dear Friends:

Thanksgiving day I wrote about the need to be thankful “in all things” and to trust and believe that He knows what lies around the bend and that He has proven that He can be trusted.

Then  I was put to the test the very next day.  

Friday I went to the airport to catch my plane to France for many days of presenting the camp to French families. Every evening had been planned for months. My hotel rooms were reserved, I made dinner arrangements and I had purchased my tickets and made all the arrangements months in advance to get the best rates and so forth.

But when I attempted to check in at the airport I was informed that my passport was invalid for travel in France because it expires in February of 2018. I knew that I only had three months left on my passport, but why did that matter?  Then I discovered that a new law had been passed in France requiring more time on a U.S. Passport! No one  from the travel agency or airline informed me, and the French law was passed after I purchased the airline ticket!

The reality of my reaction and response at the American Airlines kiosk was not immediately joyful or reflective. Friends, I was frustrated, annoyed and felt sick about the waste of time and money (the airline was not refundable) and a general sense of futility.  I thought about all the meetings that would be cancelled, of how disappointed youth and their parents would be and how in the world can I get this thing fixed as soon as possible!

To make matters worse, the airline accepted no responsibility (no big surprise), but the gentleman at “customer relations” at the travel agency blamed me and told me that I should pay attention to the new laws that were being passed in France!

All day Friday I worked to get a new, emergency meeting with the US Passport services in Atlanta (this coming Monday morning) for a new passport, purchased new tickets to Atlanta, and from there to France and then home again at a later date.  I had to cancel hotel reservations, attempt to reschedule meetings, and the returned to my home with a feeling of utter defeat.  But during this entire episode, I was praying, thanking Him for being in control and asking for His peace. I admitted to Him that I had no idea why He caused/allowed this to happen, and I also acknowledged that I might  never know why He put this road block into my plans—-and that He had no obligation or reason to explain to me His ways.

Finally, later that afternoon, I began to experience His peace and presence.  That lost flight gave me three days with absolutely no agenda—and there was nothing I could do except rest, slow down, and enjoy the good life He has given to me.  I am frequently far to “fired up” and in too much a hurry—I realize this.  Friday night I watched, alone, Les Miserables. I was touched by the priest, in particular,  in a way I could not have been if I were focusing on other things. I needed to miss a plane.

He is under  no mandate to explain why things go bad for me some days or to educate me as to why I have struggled for the past two years with our finances because of the fire; but I know that He knows what He is going and that it is blessed to be still, from time to time, to recall that He is God.



Dean Barley


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