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My mind was racing as I nervously pulled at the straps on my backpack. I looked at the chaos going on all around me in the airport and bit my lower lip, fighting the urge to scream. How could this have happened? I just wanted to go home!
I was feeling so incredibly small . . . so alone . . . so scared . . . standing in Bangkok's international airport with a ticket, but no money to pay the boarding pass. We had checked our luggage on our way to find our boarding gate. But then we were informed that we needed 500 baht apiece to get past the gate. That was 1,000 baht!
How are we ever going to get 1,000 baht-almost $25 in American currency? We're totally penniless! I thought frantically as I scanned the crowd for Christina, who was traveling with me.
I jumped when someone ran into my backpack. I mumbled a "sorry," but he obviously didn't hear me as he ran down the big hall to the boarding gate. He practically threw the 500 baht at the stewardess and just pushed past her without even waiting for her to motion him on. I wanted to run too! I wanted to get home too!
O, God, help me, I prayed as I checked my pockets one more time. All I could find in them were ticket stubs from my last flight and a couple of candy wrappers.
I did a mental inventory of my backpack for what seemed like the millionth time. I sighed, realizing that the contents might be my survival kit for who knows how long. No money and a backpack filled with a pair of dirty tennis shoes, my journal, and my CD player. Thousands of miles away from home, and only two hours until our flight left. Great, just great . . .
I fought the tears that wanted to flow so badly. "Where is Christina?" I sighed and sank to the floor by the elevators and payphones.
Christina had fought with the flight attendant for what seemed hours. I'd watched the fierce determination on her face slowly turn to a look of defeat as she shamelessly let the tears of frustration flow. It was looking more and more like we wouldn't be able to go home.
My mind drifted back over the exciting events of the last month. Christina and I had gone as missionaries to Thailand at the beginning of the month for a mission trip. It had been so incredible! When we said goodbye to the mission family at the airport, I was begging God to let me stay just a couple more weeks! But I didn't think He'd take me seriously!
Christina's agitated voice brought me back to reality.
"Did you hear me, Dalana?"
I shook my head to get rid of the mental fuzz and looked up, trying to focus on her face.
Christina sighed and gave me an exasperated look.
"I'm going to try one more thing, OK? I'll be right back."
I noticed the strain on her face and wondered what she was going to do. "Pray, Dalana. Pray hard . . ." she said as her face softened. Before I could reply or question her, she ran toward the other end of the airport.
So I sat on the floor by the elevators and tried to pray.
Lord, um . . . I'm scared. You know I loved it here, but I wasn't serious about wanting to stay! Please help us to get home. I know You can provide a way. Please help us to be able to get the money to get home, or at least enough so we can call home and tell Mom what's happened. Please be with Christina wherever she is, and whatever she's doing. Lord, please give me faith! Help me to believe that everything is going to be OK. Help us not to be scared. Please guide and direct us, because I'm feeling very small and vulnerable right now.
I opened my eyes and saw an older Thai man curiously watching me while he fired rapid Thai into the telephone receiver. I sank lower on the floor, wishing the wall would swallow me up. I watched all the people and luggage pass me as they got on and off the elevators. I saw some people who looked American lying on the floor talking.
God, am I going to celebrate my next birthday here on the floor of this airport?
I imagined God laughing at my dry humor, but instead I heard a voice of rebuke, "Ye of little faith . . . just believe in Me."
I cringed and closed my eyes, ashamed at my lack of faith. I again prayed, begging God for belief in Him. I sat there for who know's how long praying and trying to be calm.
I jumped when I felt a hand on my leg. My eyes flew open, scared of who I might see. Christina stared at me, a look of short-lived humor on her face.
"Come on, let's get outta here!"
I peered at her over the backpack in my lap wondering if she was serious. But she was already running down the hall toward the boarding entrance.
"Hey, wait up!" I scrambled to my feet and ran after her, not believing that we were going to make our flight. I was overcome by a sense of d‚j… vu as we stood at the boarding gate once again. The same stewardess looked up, her patience running thin. I inwardly grimaced as I wondered what Christina was going to try this time.
"Christina, maybe you've forgotten, but we need 1,000 baht, and we don't have it!"
To my surprise, Christina gave the stewardess a triumphant grin and pulled out 1,000 baht. Her eyes were shining as though she couldn't believe it herself. My jaw dropped, and I stared at the money.
"Where did you get that?" I asked in shock. My mind was spinning. Lord, I want to go home, but please tell me Christina isn't a pickpocket. Lord, a thief?
Almost with laughter in His voice I heard His answer, "Oh, Dalana, where is your faith in Me? Believe!"
I stood and stared at the stewardess, who looked equally startled. She began to squirm under my stare. I blushed quickly and looked down.
I looked at Christina and saw her digging frantically through her bag for our passports. I shook my head and pushed my way through the crowd. We made a mad dash through the security gates, and to our boarding gate just in time to get on the plane.
On the plane I realized that Christina was shaking. I took her hand reassuringly, trying to calm her down. I gave her a big grin, "Hey, we're going home!"
We shared a laugh as the plane took off. We were going home.
"So, Christina, how did you get the 1,000 baht?" I asked.
She smiled and said, "Someone gave it to me! I told them what had happened, and they just gave it to me! Can you believe it? You must have been praying, huh?"
I laughed. "Well . . . yeah, but I have to admit I had no faith! I didn't believe we'd be able to go home! But it looks like I needed this experience to remind me of God's power! He even sent us an angel to help us get home!"
We fell silent, each quietly thanking God for His answer to our faithless prayers. A little smile rose from within me. From now on I would try to believe, rather than constantly doubt.
I thanked my Lord for His loving rebukes and the lesson of faith He taught me that night-and especially that we were going home!
Dalana Donaldson, an avid runner and rock climber, writes from Forest Grove, Oregon.Add Comment
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