That we actually made it to Paris later in the week through the worst clogged airport and most awful flight experience ever is nothing short of a demonstration of God's grace to us in the midst of such chaos.
After turning on the TV and radio that morning it was all too real: the images of the burning World Trade Center - the very building we had visited just one year before, where we had stood taking a picture right in front of it and prophesying that one day it would be leveled in the balance of God's economy (I thought 100 years in the future when Armageddon takes place, not just one year later.) Glued to the TV, we now watched it falling to the ground on top of itself as people ran frantically down the street trying to escape the furious dust storm created in the wake of its collapse.
All mayhem seemed to ensue for a short while, and it seemed like we definitely were going to be stuck, not flying anywhere anytime soon. We began to pray as to what God's will might be in this situation, since we were scheduled to minister in Lyon, France later that week and everything was pretty much set. The biggest monkey wrench one could ever imagine had just been thrown into our plans. "Lord what do we do?" Every natural thought and every friend and family member said, "Cancel," and yet that still small voice said something I really didn't want to hear: "Persevere and go on to what I've called you to do."
With that still small voice confirmed, we slugged forward, days on the phone re-arranging tickets, resetting travel itineraries, all against the advice and remonstrations of concerned friends and family. Finally, later in the week we had everything arranged, so we thought, and showed up at the chaotic airport to realize we'd only just begun the battle.
We struggled to get through the miles of people strewn around all over the airport, many just camping out, seemingly dazed and confused. After hours of traipsing through the chaos, we finally checked in and were close to boarding, when a certain check-in clerk began to manifest on us. This guy called us over and just began to go off, attacking us on things that had nothing to do with us and complaining about the word mission in the name on our ticket, upset that “how could we be going on a mission at this time when people are being killed and stranded?” (we had ministry-discounted tickets). Ranting and raving, probably from the stress of the last few days, he freaked out and demanded that we pay him an additional $500 dollars for really nothing. It was totally unjustified and uncalled for, and not right, but he held all the cards and said he wasn't letting us on the plane unless we paid. I had to bite my tongue very hard and step aside and pray for a few moments to know what to do. That enemy was coming against us with all guns blazing was clear, and it was making me pretty upset, but the Holy Spirit impressed me with "just pay it and it will be dealt with later."
I reluctantly paid the extortion fee to the mission-hating dude and got on the plane—fit to be tied—and went on to have a terrible flight with lots of turbulence and nightmares of being flown into a building by a terrorist every time I closed my eyes to get some rest, that phone call from my brother reverberating in my memory for some time. The airports were a mess all over the world and we had to slug it out through Charles de Gaulle on the other side of the Atlantic, which held the same chaos for our landing, and then struggling on through all of it all the way to Lyon.
When we finally got to Lyon it was like walking on to a calm shore after being caught at sea in a long, drawn out storm. God just moved so powerfully the whole time we preached and ministered, which gave us great confirmation that we had done the right thing. After France, we went on to awesome ministry in many other places like Spain and Sweden and actually had many things work in our favor due to the low amount of tourists and travelers due to the recent events. We walked right into museums that normally would have long lines and actually got some of the best uncrowded waves, in between ministering, at some of the best spots on the continent since all the contests were cancelled.
Remarkably, we actually ended up being interviewed and having our picture run in a decent-sized newspaper in the south of Sweden about a crusade we were doing there, since they were so intrigued that Americans like us would be traveling at that time. God actually worked it all for good at the end of the day and we even got our $500 dollars back from the airlines at the end of it all as well.
It is so important to listen to what the Lord is saying to us rather than what the world is trying to tell us to do. Jesus said: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27) As His followers it is so vitally important to learn to listen to that still small voice if we want to be found fulfilling His will in our lives.