In the last year, my wife and I have missed three flights. In our many years of traveling, this had never happened before. It was something different each time—exhaustion and stress the first time, wrong information on our visa the second time, and a misplaced document the third time. If you’ve ever missed a flight, you know how traumatic it can be, especially when it involves getting a new visa, new tickets, and incurring not just inconvenience but added expense.

After one of those incidents, my daughter said, “Who knows what grand design might be at play here?” That proved to be true. Missing that flight led to us visiting my in-laws instead at what turned out to be a difficult time for them. One of the other missed flights resulted in us spending a few days in the Alps while we waited for the documents to be fixed—that certainly wasn’t essential, but it was a lifelong dream of mine.

That is not to minimize the physical and psychological trauma of things going awry, especially when the consequences are more serious than some inconvenience and cost. However, there’s value in taking the time to stop and reflect on these events to see if God might be providing a silver lining—as well as what actions we can take to avoid them happening again.

When things go wrong, I often remember the African proverb: “A somersault does not separate the head from the lice.” It means that simply doing something isn’t going to solve the problem, even if it’s something that requires much effort, unless it’s the right thing to do at that time and in those circumstances. Which in my case would be to double-check my documents and foresee potential problems.

I can’t say that I won’t miss a flight again, but instead of panicking, I’ll do my part to follow the Scouts’ motto to Be prepared, or Jesus’ instruction to Watch and pray. And most importantly to stay close to my Good Shepherd who leads me to green pastures and helps me rise above my mistakes. Hopefully on my next flight I’ll hear, “Welcome aboard! Have a good journey!”