After 16 hours of traveling, I’m finally in Jerusalem, lying in bed meditating on that little gem. I’d had a perfect opportunity to find out if I can trust God in a difficult time.
You know when you’re bone-weary and completely exhausted. You could sleep for a week if you could only nod off, but your mind won’t stop racing? Even after two sleeping pills, I haven’t slept and I am one tired camel.
I hope if I empty my head on the page, it’ll help. And boy, do I have a story for you.
How do I solve all the logistics?
For the past few months, I wish I could say I’ve been relaxed and excited about the upcoming changes, but I’ve been freaking out.
In Oregon, I packed my stuff, said good-bye to friends, and flew across the country with my dog just in time for my niece’s graduation and my Mom’s birthday. Meanwhile, I figured out rides to airports, flight details, and wondered if I required visas? I did need places to stay.
And I hoped to travel with a working phone that didn’t cost $10-a-day like Verizon charges. Instead, I preferred the $27-a-month charge in Israel. Would my phone function with an Israeli SIM card? No. I set up 3 others and a 4th went missing before I finally got one that would work.
At the same time, in order to learn the technology I’d need to know to share my journey online, I took classes and hired a personal coach. She taught me about search engine optimization, plug-ins, and memes. Oh man!
So my dreams have not been peaceful but more like the ones I used to have the night before the first day of school. Did you ever have those? You know, where you show up in pajamas by accident, vulnerable and exposed.
Specifically, I relived the memory of when I first came to Jerusalem. From what I remember, all I’d been told was to walk outside the airport, turn right, and look for Neshur, a sherut.
What the heck is a sherut? Now I know it’s a mini-van, but back then I didn’t.
Once I found the sign, I left my backpack by the door and got on with the crowd. An hour and a half later, after
I thought I’d never be seen again. Seriously, God, You brought me all the way over here for
But then, the sign of the school appeared and the adventure continued.
In the midst of all this, I got an email.
It was the beginning of June and I was in Boston. The house in Oregon was locked up. One flight was behind me, and so were a few of the travel details that had been taking up space in my head.
But Pete surprised me with his email. He used to come to my writer’s group when I was back East. We only both made the same meeting a couple of times a year.
Then two summers ago, he sold his house and stopped coming. In his email, Pete said:
I think you should call a friend of mine. Her name is Esther Luttrell—check out her website. She’s in the hospital in Topeka. The number is -, room -.
I won’t say anymore, but I hope you’ll call her right away.
With so much going on, I almost didn’t do it, but the urgency of that last line wouldn’t leave me alone. Peeking at her website, I learned only that, like Pete, she wrote novels. I assumed she must need prayer and that’s why he’d contacted me.
Mind you, Pete and I had never talked about prayer, but he knows I’m all about God. Why else would he have me call her?
“You don’t know me,” I said when Esther picked up the phone.
“I’ve been getting lots of these calls!” she said in a sweet voice.
I smiled as she continued, “I’m about to go to therapy.”
“I won’t take your time,” I said. “Can I pray for you before you go?”
She liked that idea. I said a short prayer and then we talked for 45 minutes. I don’t know what happened to her therapy appointment. After each part of our conversation, she’d say, “Where do we go from here?”
For me, it felt like the most spirit-led conversation I’d ever had.
I told her I’d finished a memoir and was going back to Israel, to reacquaint myself with the land before turning my Jerusalem journal from a previous stay into a book.
“Have you ever envisioned it as a movie?” she asked.
I told her about going to Soulfest, a Christian Music Festival in New Hampshire, last summer and meeting a publicist in the prayer tent who told me I needed to make a trailer. He said he could see the book as a movie, just as three other friends had said.
“Send me an overview,” Esther said. “Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.”
After the call, Pete wrote, “Esther has quite a life story, much of it Hollywood.”
So all this is exciting. But one thing I’ve learned with God is that while divine appointments are always an adventure, they don’t always mean what I think. You know . . . that Esther decides to make my book into a movie.
That’d be cool, but sometimes God has another plan.
High from that experience, I tried to confirm my flight and this is what I found:
Reeling, it took me a minute to comprehend that this no-longer-in-existence airline had my money, but I didn’t have a flight that afternoon.
I called in the troops and gathered friends to fight with me in prayer.
The situation reminded me of every time I’ve gone on the mission field. I’ve always encountered resistance and major opposition. But I knew God had lined this trip up. And I wasn’t going to quit now.
Back and forth I went, texting friends, calling a travel agent, and googling flights.
Don’t forget: You can trust God in a difficult time!
Well, for an hour.
On Delta, I had all the amenities, including the ability to text during the flight. One friend said, “Are you in first class?”
It felt like it. God knows how to upgrade to non-stop movies, warm face towels, and fresh Parisian bread with brie.
Then, on the flight to Tel Aviv, I met a woman who needed to set in place the same things I did when we landed. She was super organized, had researched all the phone companies and everything. We rode the sherut into Jerusalem together.
See how I did all that worrying for nothing?
At the campus, I arrived just in time for dinner. For my flight on Wow Air, I’d considered bringing a pizza because there was so little food en route. With my reroute, I didn’t miss a meal.
But this dinner came with a little excitement.
Hungry and tired, I caught up with friends. As I shared these stories at the table, I forgot to chew. One of them had to do the Heimlich maneuver on me!
Maybe you need this reminder, too?
You can trust God in a difficult time!
No kidding, even though I didn’t have trip insurance, pay by credit card, or file my claim with Wow Air in the allotted timeframe, God’s already given me back the cost of my original plane fare (minus a hundred dollar cancellation fee on the return ticket I had).
When you purchase tickets last minute, they’re usually super expensive. The cost I paid for this trip, including that fee, is the same price I’ve paid to come to Israel in the past!
Where has God been in your circumstances lately?
It may not seem this obvious.
I can’t tell you how many times I notice the God details because I’m writing the story to share. If I weren’t, I hate to think what I’d miss.
And if there’s someone you know that needs this reminder, you can send them a copy by using the share buttons below, F for Facebook; P for Pinterest; Tweet for Twitter; Email or by printing it out.
Bless you, guys!
Related Post: God, Give Me Peace, Ple-e-ease!