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As I write this I’m at 35,000 feet. It’s 5:45 pm, Saturday. It should be 4:15. The airliner was an hour and half late. People are grumpy. Some are downright mad. Stewardesses are apologizing, promising extra booze to take off the edge. To complicate matters, a Japanese man across the aisle from me has a rather severe nosebleed and they’re trying to instruct the poor chap…but he doesn’t speak a work of English!

So now the meal is late. The lady on my left has a cold and makes an enormous sound when she sneezes (about every ninety seconds–I’ve timed her!) It’s something like a dying calf in a hail storm or a bull moose with one leg in a trap. Oh, one more thing. The sports film on golf just broke down and so did the nervous system of half the men on board. It’s a zoo!

It all started with the delay. ‘Mechanical trouble,’ they said. ‘Inexcusable,’ responded a couple of passengers. Frankly, I’d rather they fix it before we leave than decide to do something about it en route. But we Americans don’t like to wait. Delays are irritating. Aggravating. Nerve-jangling. With impatient predictability we are consistently–and I might add obnoxiously–demanding. We want what we want when we want it. Not one of us finds a delay easy to accept…

The ability to accept delay. Or disappointment. To smile back at setbacks and respond with a pleasant, understanding spirit. To cool it while others around you curse it. For a change, I refused to be hassled by today’s delay. I asked God to keep me calm and cheerful, relaxed and refreshed. Know what? He did. He *really* did! No pills. No booze. No hocus-pocus. Just relaxing in the power of Jesus.

I can’t promise you that others will understand. You see, I’ve got another problem now. Ever since takeoff I’ve been smiling at the stewardesses, hoping to encourage them. Just now I overheard one of them say to the other, ‘Watch that guy wearing glasses. I think he’s had too much to drink.”

Author: Charles R. Swindoll
Source: “Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life”

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