I was on my way to speak in San Antonio. I had the early flight out of Tulsa, meaning I had to get up at 4 a.m., be at the airport at 5 to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas, change planes and head to San Antonio. I thought I would grab a quick bite to eat in Dallas since that airport has a greater food selection than Tulsa.

We landed on time in Dallas, but the pilot wanted to take a leisurely Sunday drive around the airport, admiring all the empty parking places. He finally found one he liked—at the opposite end of the airport from where I needed to go. Now I only had 20 minutes to catch my next flight.

There I sat, at the back of the plane, watching everyone in front of me take their sweet time getting off. After I finally exited the aircraft, I began running down the concourse, my suitcase bouncing behind me. You always see that one person at the airport who is running for their life, trying to catch their plane, and you feel sorry for them as they pass you. That day, I was the designated pity runner.

Finally, I dragged my suitcase up the escalator to catch the world’s slowest train, the one that had to stop at every gate between there and the border. Getting off the train, I only had eight gates to go to catch my plane with five minutes to spare.

As I was running and dragging, I hit the Great Wall of Temptation. From out of nowhere, the smell of a Cinnabon store tackled me. It hit me hard with memories of my grandmother’s apple pie, Christmas wreaths and scented candles. All the cells in my body were chanting, “We are hungry; we are hungry; we want Cinnabon!” I was outnumbered.

Looking out of the corner of my eye, I saw the movement of passengers as they boarded the plane. I did the calculations. I was in boarding group six; that would take another 10 minutes. The line at the Cinnabon store looked as though it was nine minutes long. Should I risk missing the flight to get a Cinnabon? It took all I had to resist the temptation and board the plane hungry.

I got comfortable in my seat as the plane took off and started climbing. I sat there thanking God for giving me strength to overcome that temptation; it was a narrow escape.

Then the guy sitting next to me smiled as he pulled down his tray and opened a white bag. As he reached in and pulled out a Cinnabon, the aroma hit me once again, and my short flight suddenly became much longer.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).

Photo by Mark Olsen