Leaving the team and luggage on the metro platform at the airport, I climb the stairs leading to—honest confession here—I have no idea. My hope is to find a screen, an airport representative, a Parisian who, dare I say it, speaks English.
“Lord, please help me find anyone or anything that can help me figure out where to go,” I pray.
Upon reaching the top of the staircase, I survey my surroundings—nothing. Nothing but miles of white floor, gray walls, and signs that are of no help to me.
If you’ve ever been to the Charles de Gaulle Airport just outside of Paris, France, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Let’s just say CDG is not the most organized of places in the world of airports.
“This is not rocket science,” I mumble to myself. All I need to do is figure out which terminal our team needs to proceed to in order to check our bags and board our flight to Cape Town. This should not be that difficult.
Seeing a large screen with flight numbers, gates, and terminal numbers, my heart does a happy dance. I stare at the screen, my eyes surveying the information. Cape Town does not appear anywhere.
“Are you kidding me?” I say this in a much too loud voice and quickly look around to see who may have heard. And then for a moment, I contemplate that I could just be having a really bad dream—you know one of those dreams where you keep going back to the same place and doing the same things over and over again, but never actually get where you know you need to be.
But this is not a dream. I AM in the airport and I NEED to find our terminal. The team is waiting on me, depending on me not to mess this up. So I begin asking anyone walking by. “Parlez vous anglai?” All I get is no nods and eye rolls.
I begin walking faster and more frantic. What will I do? How far should I walk until I head back and admit defeat? Someone here has got to know the answer to my question. My mind is racing, my thoughts anxious, and my breathing shallow.
Pray. Just pray and ask the Lord to help you.
So I pray. “Lord, I need your help. I know you know what terminal we are supposed to go to. Please help me find it. Lead me to a sign or a person who can help me.”
I decide I should turn around and walk back toward the stairs that can take me to the team. Before I get to the staircase, though, I notice a man with olive skin, white hair and a white beard. He’s probably in his late fifty’s or early sixty’s. He is just standing there with no luggage and with nothing in his hands. He’s just there. Alone.
In one final attempt to find out where our terminal is, I walk over to the man and begin the conversation. “Do you happen to speak English?” I ask wearily. “Yes, I do,” he replies, in a beautiful South African accent. “Do you happen to know which terminal I would go to for a flight to Cape Town, South Africa?” “Yes, I do. It’s terminal 4,” he says with a smile. In the sincerest of tones, I say, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” he affirms. “I’m going there myself.” “Which way is terminal 4?” I ask. He gestures in the direction of the terminal, and I thank him for his help.
As I walk away, it occurs to me that this man had the most angelic of faces, but I’m really in too much of a hurry to get to the team so I push the thought aside and make my way down to the metro platform.
Hurrying the team, we lug our luggage up the stairs and make our way in the direction of Terminal 4. After checking in, we head through security and to our gate. Whew! Now we wait.
Boarding the airplane a few hours later, I find myself looking for my Good Samaritan. Odd. I don’t see him on the flight. He said he was going to Cape Town, and he knew the terminal number, so I just assumed he would be on the plane.
An hour or so into the flight, I settle in and begin to get comfortable. Thinking back over the hectic morning and our schedule when we arrive in Cape Town, I’m grateful for the next ten hours to just sit and be still. Thinking about the stress of the next ten days, my encounter at the airport comes to mind and with wide-eyed grin, I begin to smile.
How sweet of the Lord to give me such a practical lesson before heading into all the stress and strain of the next week and a half. Through the olive skinned stranger with white hair and white beard, the Lord revealed Himself to me. He reminded me that He was with me. He spoke to my fearful heart and affirmed that He was leading the team of ten through Cape Town, not me. He assured me that He was my help, and all I needed to do was rest in Him.
For every moment of stress that I had played over and over in my head—driving on the wrong side of the road, leading a team (and keeping them all safe, happy, and healthy), making decisions and carrying out plans. All of these things would be fine because the Lord was with me. Just like the olive skinned stranger said that he was going to Cape Town, I knew that the Lord was there too. He was on the plane to Paris. He was in the airport in Paris, and He was in the plane with me now. I simply needed to rest in His sovereign care, His protection, and His provision.
So as you go about your day today, friends, I encourage you to look for olive skinned strangers with white hair and white beards. I’m just kidding! Your help may not look exactly like mine, but your help will be there for you when you need Him. Who knows, your help may be in a person or (dare I say it) angel that God sends your way. Your help may be in a friend who shows up when you need her the most. Your help may be the clerk at the grocery store or the teller at the bank. Your help may be that idea that pops in your mind in the midst of a crisis or concern.
The point is, your help will come.
Your Father is near.
Simply lift your voice in prayer and ask Him. Don’t stress or strain or fear or fret.
Rest in Him today.
Have a blessed week!
Director of Women’s Ministry, Prayer & Special Needs Ministry