In the summer of 2005, my then-boyfriend borrowed my big black suitcase for a trip to Florida, where he would be working as a counselor at a summer youth camp. I drove him to the airport, and upon our arrival there, we discovered that the suitcase had a big rip in the back that was in danger of getting bigger. At that point it was too late to go out and get a new suitcase, so I sent my boyfriend on his way, with both of us keeping our fingers crossed that he would not be greeted at the baggage claim by a busted suitcase with his clothes spilling all over the carousel.
The suitcase was hanging on by a thread when my boyfriend arrived in Florida, and he promptly went shopping for a replacement suitcase. He called me from Walmart to let me know that he’d found a reasonably priced set, and asked if I had a preference in color. I’d long thought that my next set of luggage would be red because (a) red is my favorite color and (b) everyone else has black luggage, so red would, in theory, be easier to spot at the baggage claim. So my boyfriend proceeded to purchase new red luggage and threw the old black suitcase away.
Fast forward to the end of the trip. After arriving at the airport, my boyfriend found out that his return flight was delayed by several hours. Thankfully, the airline was able to find him a seat on another flight that was leaving very soon.
Now there was the matter of finding his luggage, which had already gone through security and had been tagged for the original flight. An airline worker asked my boyfriend to describe the suitcase so they could pull it from the original flight and put it on the new flight. The baggage claim folks were able to find the bright red suitcase right away and managed to get it on the flight just in time for departure. If my boyfriend had still been using my black suitcase, I’m not sure that it would have been found among a sea of other black suitcases in time to make it onto his flight.
Whenever I see my red suitcase I’m reminded of God’s providence. Granted, this was not some life-or-death situation; rather, it was a matter of inconvenience. Nevertheless, God took what seemed to be a bad situation (a broken suitcase) and used it for good.
Even more importantly, this story strengthens my trust in God to work ALL things out for good, no matter how bad the situation may seem. I have especially needed this reminder in the last few months, when it’s not always been easy to see how God is using some bad situations for good. Still, I remind myself, if God cares enough to show Himself so clearly in the seemingly insignificant situations, how much more is working in the matters that so deeply touch my heart?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)