I once was in a commercial airline which was seconds from landing in a heavy crosswind. As I looked out my side window, much to my surprise, I saw the runway. That wasn’t a great feeling. The plane made a sharp turn and seconds later the wheels touched down … hard! Let’s just say, I like it when things line up early!
In the world of language development and Bible translation, it doesn’t always work that way. Good plans are made but life is so unpredictable in Papua New Guinea. PNG’s motto is “The land of the unexpected” and it certainly lives up to that. Language work is often in flux because of transportation issues. People can arrive late or even not at all. It’s unclear if a flight will go because an airstrip’s grass is uncut. An inaccurate weather report makes for unpredicted rough seas or a landslide blocks a road. But it’s not just travel that impacts good planning. A workshop gets cancelled because the teacher is sick. Typesetting of a New Testament is delayed because a key person has a death in the family. Work is left unfinished because of personality conflicts based on cultural differences or unmet expectations.
Sometimes things just don’t line up. When landing an airplane, often the runway is in sight but the pilot still needs to make course corrections due to unforeseen circumstances. This is true in life as well. Pray to the Great Pilot for plans that are doable but are flexible enough to meet the unpredicted challenges.