We just returned from a whirlwind trip through England, Belgium, France, and Romania. When one embarks on such a journey, there are many concerns. Not only was the Lord incredibly gracious to keep us healthy and keep things running smoothly at home; He was also very near. My heart is full as I ponder all that His hand provided and allowed during our month away.
One of the more stressful events of the trip transpired the day we were flying from Paris to Bucharest to meet Patrick’s mother and brother. The girls and I were excited to experience Romania for the first time. Patrick is half Romanian and spent his summers there as a boy. This part of his heritage was completely unfamiliar to me until this trip.
We arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris in plenty of time to catch our flight. We returned our rental car and began the tedious process of check-in, passport control, and security checks. These things took over an hour and a half. There were miles to make, trams to take, and long lines, for goodness’ sake!
As we finally approached our gate, I mentioned getting something to eat and Patrick went pale. “I think I left my wallet in the rental car.” We frantically searched his bag to make sure he was correct. Unfortunately, he was. I simply said, “Run.” As the girls and I watched him sprint away from us, we realized several awful truths:
First, we truly needed that wallet! Patrick couldn’t drive our Romanian rental car without it. I do not posses an international driver’s license, and the next part of the trip required much driving! Even if he could make it there and back in time for the flight, would the car still be there? It could have already been transferred for cleaning. Or, what if the car was there but the wallet was not?
Second, the wallet held all his credit cards. They were the same cards I was using so cancelling them would leave us with no money.
Third, if Patrick didn’t make it back in time for the flight, the girls and I would have to travel to Romania without him, not knowing the language. Perhaps we could make it by taxi to our hotel, but we would have to manage all the luggage, and my back was not up for that.
It was overwhelming. It was 11:00. The airline attendant told me the door of the plane would close at noon. At 11:50 I received this text: “I’m back to where I left you.” He was rounding the corner, wallet in tow, and dripping in sweat. I was so happy to see my Frenchman! We all walked onto the plane together at 11:55. Whew!
Here’s the thing. As stressful as that hour was, I honestly was never worried. I am not boasting about my unruffled state. Rather, I am in awe of the peace the Lord continually supplied me during our travels. His reassuring presence never left me. I knew the whole ordeal was of His hand. All things are. Who am I to doubt His plan?
Several miraculous events took place during Patrick’s fast and furious trek back to the wallet. He was already exhausted before he began his stressful journey, but pure adrenaline and God’s mercy allowed him the physical strength to run for a full hour. He mistakenly found the rental car departure location rather than the arrival area, where our car was located. A Turkish man (total angel) drove Patrick to our rental car. According to Patrick, it was like a scene from a movie, the driver recklessly weaving in and out of airport traffic. When they arrived, not only was the car still there, but so was the wallet! The man even gave him a lift back to the terminal (saving him 35 minutes of foot travel). Patrick resumed his sprint, constantly running into roadblocks of long lines of travelers. Several guards refused to help him to the front of the security line, but one tall officer kindly pointed him in a direction, giving him the approval to bypass several hundred people. The Lord’s provision was at every turn.
We still can’t believe he even attempted to get to the car rental location and back. The Lord moved mountains!
We laugh now as we remember the rental car agent saying to all four of us as we surrendered the car, “Do you want to check the car one more time?” “No, we’re good.” Oy! How many times have we assumed we are “good” or that “all is well” based on our decisions and choices when, in reality, we have assumed wrongly. This is a scary thought, except for the fact that the Lord knows. He has a path designed to both sanctify us and shine His glory through us.
We all grew in our sanctification that day. All praise to Him who takes care of fools and babies! I’m changing that old saying to “The Lord takes care of Frenchmen and babies.”
To finish the story… for the rest of the trip, whenever Patrick offered instruction for packing or gathering our belongings, we teasingly asked him one question in return: “Got your wallet?”