‘Testing of your faith produces perseverance’


By Jenna Ebener
A reflection

I tried to go into my day of travel hopeful, but knew it was improbable that I could make a one-hour connection after deplaning and going through customs and security. However, I was determined to keep my eyes on God and trust that he would get me home safely. I set my intention to focus on what I could control — such as running when I could, asking people if I could move ahead in lines and being mindful during the times when I knew I would be waiting.

Alas, all of the little things that could go wrong did seem to go wrong. I was in the second-to-last row on the plane. We taxied for 15 minutes to the farthest end of the airport. I ran for over a half-mile through seemingly endless empty corridors to get to customs where the “quick and easy” app was not working. So, I joined the single, long line. After another sprint, I was at security when the line was paused so the service dog could have his fetch break. I chose the line where every other bag was pulled, including mine, and it took 20 minutes to check the five bags ahead of mine. I turned out my entire backpacking backpack to get to the specified item in the bottom. I sprinted to the train and took it to the farthest terminal. I finally got to my gate and yup, I missed my flight by seven minutes. Rather than despairing, I took a deep breath, recentered myself on God and made my way to a ticket counter. I got the last seat on the last flight of the day.

I believe it took all of those unfortunate mishaps for me to fully let go and trust God. Throughout the hour of “sprint and wait,” I had two moments of near panic. Both times, God sent me reminders of my intention. The first moment happened when I was waiting in security. I was standing next to another woman who had a bag ahead of mine and whose flight was also boarding. We commiserated on the slow pace and then reassured each other. The second moment happened when I was on the train, taking stop after stop. I was too anxious to sit and had my arm on the overhead strap. A man sitting across from me said, “One Life.” It took many moments for it to sink in and then I realized — he was reminding me of the tattoo on my outstretched arm. One of the meanings of that message is to be present in the moment. That friendly reminder from a stranger, who knew nothing about my tattoo other than it would mean something to me, gave me the reset I needed. I took a deep breath and a calm came over me — I knew God would take care of me. I was convinced that meant I would make my flight but when I got to my gate, I was not disheartened. That sense of trust in God stayed with me. He did indeed take care of me.


What in your life seems out of your control? What can you take charge of and what do you need to give to God? After my two interactions, both strangers noted how they could see peace coming over me and I know it is because I let go of control and let God. How is God giving you reminders to trust in him? How do you grow from trusting in him? “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1: 2-3).

(Jenna Ebener, a graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with a combination of medical, cognitive and behavior disabilities. She relies on God every day to aid her on this wonderful, yet intense journey.)

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