PRAYER OVER PANIC

I’m not a morning person. I’m the girl who sets five alarms. I hit snooze at least three times, on a good day. I don’t have an internal alarm clock. I go to bed at 10 and still struggle to get out of bed. It’s not just the waking up part that’s painful. My brain is cloudy early in the morning. I don’t have much to say. Jokes just don’t seem funny. Car rides seem longer. Things move a little slower when the sun isn’t settled into the sky yet.

The only time getting out of bed is a little easier is for golf, running or travel. This doesn’t mean jokes suddenly become funny before 10 AM or the snooze button gets a rest, but these days don’t always require two cups of coffee. In late-September I had a 6:30 AM flight for work. Needless to say, I did not book this trip. I tend to avoid anything that requires a 4:15 AM wake-up call. Since I was traveling, I only hit snooze once and was feeling good when I stepped outside into the crisp air a little before 5 AM.

I arrived at the airport and everything was going as planned. I pulled up to the parking pay station with country music blaring and excitement for the upcoming trip. I reached for my debit card and all of a sudden the jokes weren’t funny again. For safety, I carry my ID with me when I run. I’d gone for a beautiful run around Lake Calhoun the night before and forgot to put my ID back in my wallet. The one thing I needed to board my flight was resting in my pocket a few cities over.

Stuck inside the parking ramp, two options came to mind: I could pray or I could panic. What would you do? A year ago I would have panicked. I may have run into the airport and begged them to let me fly. I might have started crying. I definitely would have called my mom and dad talking 1000 words a minute and not listening to their advice. But in that moment, I prayed. I asked God to give me peace. I thanked him for providing me with a great job that allowed me to travel. I talked with him about what to do. Then I called my dad, but I was calm.

It took two seconds for us to agree I needed to go home and get my ID. I turned the station from country music to Christian music and spoke to God as I drove out of the parking ramp and back down the highway. I felt my foot press the pedal harder as I sped by a cop going at least 15 over. I looked into the mirror and thought “this is it, I’m getting pulled over and missing my flight.” But a miracle happened, the red lights never turned on, the sirens never came and before I knew it I was home, ID in hand.

I got back into my car and came to peace with the fact that my flight took off in 35 minutes. That’s right, I felt peace. There wasn’t panic. I didn’t feel my blood pressure rising. I didn’t ask myself if I deserved this. I was pretty confident I was missing my flight. But I just drove on and kept praying. 6:12 AM and my car settled into its parking spot at the airport. My feet hit the ground running and my rolling suitcase effortlessly jumped over every bump in our way.

My sprint ended at the security gate where miraculously there were only five people in line. FIVE! That never happens. I patiently waited in line, refusing to be one of those people who jump to the front, they're annoying. 6:18 and I’m through security and the race begins. A 200-yard sprint and I arrive at gate G20 as the lady at the desk announces final call for passengers on Delta flight to Atlanta. I’d made it.

I wiped the sweat off my forehead, thanked the lady at the desk and froze. Tears started rolling down my face as I looked up to God and thanked Him. He had truly provided me with a miracle. I thanked Him for giving me peace when I wanted to panic. I thanked Him for safely getting me to the gate. I thanked Him for encouraging the cop to look away as I sped by. I thanked Him for the strength to be calm.

About nine months ago I made a decision to refocus on my faith. I hadn’t been putting God first and needed direction. I joined Eagle Brook Church, became part of an amazing small group, started reading the bible, prayed every day and began serving at my church. Through these months, I’ve begun feeling God’s presence in my life more and more. But in this moment at MSP Airport, I felt “Jesus Take the Wheel.” My faith hadn't felt this strong in a long time.

Nine months ago, I fully believe I would have missed that flight. Even if I had made it, the minutes leading up to my departure would have been filled with fear, anxiety and irrational decisions. But instead, during a moment where I could have panicked, I prayed. Prayer and strong faith led to peace and strength, and I experienced first-hand: “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) Next time you want to panic, I encourage you to pray.