When my husband and I were offered five days at an island resort in exchange for listening to a timeshare presentation, I never imagined it would lead to an epic anniversary trip a year in the making, or that my first experience flying standby would prove such a powerful compare-and-contrast lesson in God’s unfailing, unconditional love.

Last year a friend who works for an airline heard we were celebrating a milestone anniversary. He offered us buddy passes to fly anywhere in the world with one condition: make it a worthwhile trip.

To fly to Florida, Savannah, the Alabama coast, or any other easy road trip from our Georgia home would be a waste.

When a phone survey ended with an amazing offer — six days at our choice of resorts if we’d attend a timeshare presentation — it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put those buddy passes to good use.

Months later we worked out dates and details and booked four flights, two going and two returning home, and counted down the days until our island adventure.

Flying standby is an adventure in itself. You sit at the gate for the flight you hope to take with your eyes glued to the monitor, watching to see if your name moves from the standby list to the list of those guaranteed a seat.

Your ranking on that list depends on factors including length of employment by the airline and whether you’re an actual employee or a friend of one. Someone can join the standby list at the last minute and jump ahead of you if their rank is higher, as I later learned firsthand.

Although we wouldn’t get to sit together, we made the passenger list for our first flight; however, a man was already sitting in my husband’s assigned seat when we boarded. I moved to the back of the plane not knowing if my husband was still on it, but in the moments before we turned off our cell phones, he texted that he had been given another seat. Whew!

Please visit me today at (in)courage for the rest of What Flying Standby Reminded Me about God’s Love, a story about the beginning of my and my husband’s anniversary adventure in October and the spiritual lessons I drew from it.

And if you’re still shopping and prefer to do it in your pjs, check out my Christmas 2016 Amazon Gift Guide!

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