So often, we get extremely frustrated when circumstances don’t pan out the way we wanted. Whether it be a flat tire, a financial loss, a missed promotion, or a missed plane, life’s little and big misfortunes can lead us to believe that life is unfair or that God’s plan might not be so perfect after all.
Though our finite minds can only comprehend the world from our limited perspective, we’re quick to anger and assume we know what’s best. Unfortunately, discontentment and disappointment come so much easier than gratitude.
Admittedly, such was the case for Antonis Mavropoulos, who was nothing short of furious when he was barred from entering flight 302 bound for Nairobi, Kenya on March 10. Running late from a connecting flight, he watched the final passengers enter the plane as the gate closed right in front of him.
“I lost it for two minutes, when I arrived, the boarding was closed and I watched the last passengers in tunnel go in — I screamed to put me in but they didn’t allow it,” Antonis wrote on Facebook.
Little did he know, 6 minutes after takeoff, that flight would kill all 149 passengers on board.
Still unaware of the situation at hand, Antonis became even more flustered when airport security pulled him aside for questioning.
“As we joined the next flight, two security officers informed me that for security reasons that a senior officer will explain to me, they will not allow my boarding,” he explained. “In my intense protests, they left no margin of discussion and led me to their superior, to the airport police department.”
It was then that Antonis realized just how blessed he was to have never entered flight 302 that day:
“He told me gently not to protest and say thank you to God, because I am the only passenger who did not enter the flight 302 which is missing. And that this was why they can’t let me go, until I determine who I am, because I didn’t get on the flight and everything. At first I thought he was lying, but his style left no margin of doubt.”
Antonis could hardly mentally process what was being told, but he knew the man was speaking the truth.
“I felt the ground lost under my feet, but I came back in 1-2 seconds because I thought something else would happen, some communication problem maybe,” he wrote.
But there was no communication problem. The news was real. Every last passenger that boarded flight 302 had been killed in the crash.
The once irate man was quickly overwhelmed with gratitude that God had spared his life. The circumstance that he perceived as being such a misfortune was, in fact, his saving grace.
Antonis reflected back on the “two small random circumstances” that caused him to miss his flight.
“The moment I made that thought I collapsed because then exactly I realized how lucky I stood,” he wrote.
Antonis shared his heart-stopping story on Facebook, along with a photo of the ticket for the flight he never took, by the sheer grace of God.
Antonis’ story is such a powerful reminder to us all that we are to “be thankful in all things,” as commanded in Thessalonians 5:18, for we never know the larger story that God is orchestrating for our good and His glory.
Praise Him for saving Antonis that day and for giving those whom his story has touched a new perspective on life’s “misfortunes” that are really mercies in disguise.