The remarkable true life story of Peter Newman (Part 2)


God Makes His Own Arrangements

I picked up the phone to check with the airport. I had barely lifted it to my ear when that inner impression I now know to be the voice of God spoke to me again: "I've told you the date to go. You are to leave the house tonight to catch the plane early tomorrow."

Didn't God know there was a twenty-four hour strike at Heathrow Airport and no planes were either taking off or landing?

My wife, Barbara, came into the room. "There's no point in even trying," she said as I put the phone down again. "You're only going to have a wasted journey to the airport and a wasted day tomorrow.

My youngest daughter Sharon also chimed in with the latest news bulletin. "Grounded for the next twenty-four hours," she declared, with a glint in her eye. Perhaps God or Dad had made a mistake this time.

"But I've got to go. God has told me to and that means my flight will be all right." Barbara was silent for a moment. Then she nodded and started fussing over my cases, making sure everything was there. I got my coat, picked up my luggage, kissed her goodbye and headed off for the train which would take me into London. I hadn't booked a seat on the plane, whenever God tells me to fly here or there, I just turn up at the airport and get a stand-by ticket. But I didn't expect the queue at the airline office to be as long as it was that morning.

It was chaotic. There were between two hundred and fifty and three hundred tired and irate people waiting. The man in front of me had a transistor radio and was relaying the latest news about the airport strike to one and all.

"Where are you hoping to go?" he asked glumly.
"Chicago," I replied confidently.
"You must have a ticket." "No, stand-by," I replied.

He started to laugh and said I didn't stand a chance of getting anywhere near Chicago. Others stared at me and winked at one another; at least they had tickets to their destination. I just held my tongue and waited. My turn eventually came. I asked for stand-by to Chicago. The clerk looked oddly at me, hesitated and demanded passport and money. I had my ticket.

The whole section was packed with people. To get to the phone to ring Barbara I had to climb over bodies, suitcases and flight bags. Everyone was fed up with waiting for flights which, according to the latest reports, would never take off.

I dialled Plymouth. "Hello, Barbara," I said. "I'm at the airport. I've got my ticket and I'll be flying within the next couple of hours."
"Oh," she said. "Is the strike over then?"
"No," I replied, "but I'll ring you from America. Bye, dear." I headed for the departure lounge which was almost empty. The information board said that all transatlantic flights were cancelled until further notice. I sat down and waited for some information about my flight to flicker on the electronic board. I can't say I was bursting with faith. All I knew was that God had told me to catch a plane to America and that God makes His own arrangements in spite of man.

I glanced up and, sure enough, details of my flight were coming up on the board. It was leaving as scheduled. I said a quick "Thank you, Lord", grabbed my belongings and headed off to the assigned gate. But I wasn't home and dry yet.

"There's very little chance of your getting on with only a stand-by ticket," the official told me. "Go over there and wait while everyone else gets on board."

I joined the two other stand-by ticket holders and we sat and waited, and waited.
What seemed like an age later, the official called us over and told us we could board. I expected the jet to be full, but it was almost empty. I smiled to myself. "Thank you, Lord," I repeated as I lay across three empty seats and went to sleep.

A few hours later the pilot's voice came over the intercom. He apologised because we would be one minute late arriving in Chicago. Then he told us that ours was the only transatlantic flight to have left Heathrow on time that day.

I lay back. "How good God is," I thought. And I started thinking about God's wonderful faithfulness to me over the years; even from the earliest years.  CR

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