Breaking Radio Silence

Breaking radio silence.

The end of summer just got away from me. It’s not that I stopped existing. It’s not that even stopped caring. It just got away from me. But it’s a deviation from the norm that has re-initiated my drive to keep writing.

I was leaving a conference in Asheville, North Carolina to head back out on the road with Rend Collective in support of As Family We Go—a global network initiating and supporting church planting. The intention was to fly directly to Roswell, New Mexico on the day of our first show of the fall tour. This meant saying goodbye to my groggy wife hours before the sun would even rise. This meant having two connection flights (in Charlotte, North Carolina and Phoenix, Arizona, respectfully). This even meant one less day I could fly fish (I know, I know).

We loaded the plane and began taxiing down the runway to prepare for takeoff when I started to cough. Soon others were coughing too. “What’s that smell? I think it’s smoke!” one panicked passenger blurted out next to me. The cabin quickly turned hazy with smoke and the plane came to an abrupt stop. The pilot opened the cockpit door and asked “Is it bad?” He got his answer by simply looking around.

The door was opened and we evacuated onto the runway greeted by firetrucks and emergency responders.  What became clear in the next moments was that my travel plans were going to be severely compromised. Flustered, I began trying to think of every option. This was the only flight out of Asheville that day to get me to Roswell. Additionally, I had to get to Roswell that day. The tour wouldn’t be there tomorrow—and so frustration began to set in. The American Airlines staff—who were incredible in taking care of waylaid passengers—informed us that we would be bussed to Charlotte in about 45 minutes.

Suddenly, some glimmer of light!

No, it was not sitting on a Greyhound for several more hours. Jamie was intending to drive to Charlotte that day to visit her brother. Maybe I could catch a ride with her and get to spend a few more hours together before I left for a few weeks! I still didn’t know how I was going to get to Roswell, but I was incredibly grateful to unexpectedly get more time with Jamie. Soon after I got good news that I could catch a 5:30 flight from Charlotte through Dallas that would eventually land at my destination at 11:00. Yes, I’d miss the show, but at least I’d get there. Jamie and I went and got coffee, and headed to a small trout stream where I fly fished while she read on the banks. Later in the afternoon she dropped me off at the airport and I headed to Dallas.

While on the plane I glance over and notice a man reading his Bible by me. I quickly realized that this was a very well-known and sought after speaker and author who is an absolute legend in the church-planting world. We struck up a conversation and he asked the obligatory question as to why I was traveling. I began to describe As Family We Go, and it became perfectly clear that God was working in some pretty amazing ways during the course of my day!

What started out as an awful inconvenience—possibly a terrifying experience—wound up being a testament to God’s sovereign goodness.


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