We just got back from a wonderful 4 days in Florida for our 25th anniversary. We had good flights, wonderful conversations on the planes…one was with a gentleman who was a Lutheran but is becoming more conservative and possibly reformed in his older years and for one hour he asked questions and my husband was a faithful lecturer. The other was a 36 year old gentleman who was still single and was a very devoted Greek Orthodox. This man too asked many questions and we had a very engaging conversation with him. Our condo room was right on the beach and it was small but clean and neat. The weather was perfect (low 80's during the day and 70 at night)....the beach beautiful...the sunsets were breathtaking. We watched the dolphins while eating our meals on our patio. At night we sat down on the beach and just watched the waves…sometimes talking together…sometimes just sitting silently....marveling at the majesty of God. After the afternoon church service on Sunday we had friends from Grand Rapids over for supper. It was nice to catch up again. After they left we walked out to the beach for one last time and again contemplated the day and sermons and were privileged to even see two shooting stars. My heart gave me only enough trouble to let me know it was there and i needed to be careful but nothing which we needed to get worried about for which we were so thankful.
But this beautiful trip could have been very different. We landed in Tampa about 10:30pm on Wednesday. After gathering our luggage we headed outside the airport to wait for a shuttle to take us to the rental car company. (This time we rented a car off-site because it was cheaper.) The temperature was about 75 degrees and so we didn't mind the 15 minute wait. We sat on a large bench and enjoyed the warmth. There were lots of other shuttle busses coming and going and finally ours arrived. We loaded on our luggage and left the airport. About 7 minutes down the road I suddenly realized my purse was misssing. We quickly informed the driver who turned around as soon as possible. I must say that among other things in my purse, was our money....my debit/credit/gift cards...our good camera...our passports...my kindle (his anniversary present to me)...my cell phone….and my heart medication which I need to carry with me at all times. At first we both felt panic and then I realized the foolishness of that because the outcome of all this was in the Lord's hands. If it was His will we would find it and if not we would spend the next days dealing with the ramifications and with this realization a calm came over my whole body. It was so much easier being resigned to His will than when I was panicking over something I had no control over. Obviously we still prayed that it would be found yet at the same time feeling that whatever happened would be ok.
Those 10 minutes back to the airport seemed like a very long time but finally we arrived about 20 minutes after we had left. The shuttle bus pulled into the area where we had been waiting and between all the people standing around waiting for their busses we could see a large bench, and on that bench all alone, sat my purse. As my husband ran off the bus towards the bench tears of thankfulness and gratitude filled my eyes as again I realized what an underserved mercy and gracious goodness was given to us. The Lord had prepared our hearts to fall in line with whatever His will would be and then He chose to show us His great mercy. This was a humbling start to our trip.