The flight attendant avoided my eyes as I walked up to check my bags. “Your flight was moved up two hours. We tried to call you,” she said matter of factly.

I had gotten up at 3 a.m. and traveled fromI felt anger, frustration and anxiety rise up Jerusalem to the Ben-Gurion international airport outside Tel Aviv only to miss my flight by 10 minutes. I felt anger, frustration and anxiety rise up. Vicious words began to form sentences in my mouth. (I won’t pretend I stopped them.) Turns out the only other people who missed the call were seated next to me—a German man and an Asian tourist.

The three of us stood there staring at each other. The thought flashed in my mind just to get on a sherut (shared van) and head back to my dorm. But thoughts of my family waiting for me to visit for the winter and the comfort of my childhood bedroom won me over. My bags were packed for a three-week trip home to Philadelphia in the middle of my year on the women’s program at the Mayanot Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. It was my second year of seminary, and I was enjoying every minute of it. I could not imagine living anywhere else. Over the past two years, I had built an entire network of friends, families and teachers across the country, and I felt certain that Israel was my true home.

On the other hand, home is where family is, and I had been looking forward to seeing my parents, brother and grandmother for a few weeks. I looked at the two men and thought: Well, at least they will be able to help me.

Since it was a German airline that had so abruptly derailed our plans, the German man had no trouble calling the helpline and getting a new flight. For some reason, he didn’t understand that the Asian gentleman and I desperately needed his language abilities. Now we were down to two. The poor Asian fellow had no idea what to do, so I took him with me to the ticket desk. After an hour of being transferred from one travel agent to another, we finally found out that our only choice was to buy a totally new ticket and hope that we would be reimbursed for the other one at some undetermined point in the future. That did not sound promising; neither did a $700 one-way ticket to America. The Asian man bought his ticket and wandered off. I told the travel agent I needed a moment to think.

Sitting on a cold bench at 5 a.m. in the airport was the last place I thought I would have a spiritual experience. But all of a sudden, I felt the presence of G‑d. So many times in my life I had planned out my future, and so many times I had been handed the unexpected. It struck me at that moment that I was experiencing the hand of G‑d literally reaching into my life and changing the course of my future. All my frustration and anxiety melted away. A lightness began to fill that void until a smile burst across my face. A thought slowly dawned on me, “This is good.” I laughed and said in a quiet voice to myself, not completely believing it yet. “This is good. This is good!”

The words of the rebbes began to ring in my mind, “Think good, and it will be good.” Time to put this wisdom to use.

With a spring in my step and an unwavering confidence, I went back to the ticket desk. I asked the travel agent to hold my flight. Then I called my father. “Dad, something great just happened. I am not sure why yet, but I missed my flight home and I have to buy a one-way ticket. You always talk about serendipity. Well, here is a moment to bask in the unknown, the plans of G‑d. Also, I need $700 for the flight . . . ”

I am very blessed to have supportive parents. My father sighed and told me to use his credit card. This is how I ended up on a one-way ticket back to America, full of joy at the unknown that was unfolding before me. The whole time I felt surrounded by the Clouds of Glory guiding my travels and protecting me along the way. I was not able to order kosher food last minute, but the meager dinner of apple juice and power bars I put together on my stopover in Istanbul felt imbued with G‑d’s blessing.

All it took was a missed flight to shake meI am very blessed to have supportive parents out of my usual sense of control over the world. At the core of this experience was the blessing of release. Closeness to G‑d comes from the willingness to be vulnerable to His plans and to see your own as mere suggestions. I thought I wanted to leave Israel for three weeks and then return to build my life there. G‑d wanted me to return to America on a one-way ticket so I would consider other options.

The first upshot of my extended stay was getting to celebrate my good friend’s wedding. During the dancing, she grabbed both me and her Rebbetzin, and said: “Chavas! You have to meet!” Her Rebbetzin, who shares my name, quickly surmised that I was in need of some guidance to readjust to America. After the wedding, I went to her house for tea and direction. She suggested that I email a good friend of hers who runs a campus Chabad House in Manhattan to meet new people and perhaps help them out for a few weeks before I went back to Israel.

From that one email, I wound up working for them as the full-time program director for more than a year.

A missed flight turned into a series of incredible opportunities to teach, mentor, run Jewish religious and educational programs, and ultimately, grow in ways I never imagined. We can plan our future all we want. At the end of the day, however, to G‑d our plans are just suggestions. If things wind up not going (what we this is) our way, then He certainly has something much better waiting for us.