Jubilee Weekly October 16, 2018

Dear Jubilee Family,
When one of our members shared this story with me, I asked him to write it up so we could share it with all of you.

I was particularly impressed with his reliance on the LORD and how the Holy Spirit guided him step by step. I think you will enjoy.

God bless you,
Pastor Leonard

A Wedding to Remember

Recently, my cousin invited me to her wedding to be held in New Fane, VT, a small town just north of the border with Massachusetts. Several days of activities were planned but my plan was to get in and out of there quickly.

She asked me to do a “reading” at the civil ceremony and I selected 1 Corinthians 13 as a “safe” but meaningful message for what I anticipated to be a potentially skeptical crowd. The wedding was being held in Vermont as her fiancée’s family and Ivy League college friends lived in that part of the country.

The crowd, I imagined, would be mostly East Coast intellectuals with whom I would have little in common. I predicted that they would be talking about world affairs and national politics with a somewhat left-leaning tone.

My prediction was not far off but the subjects at dinner ranged from African NGO co-ops to climate change effects on the local deer tick population. They politely suffered through my contributions to the conversation which were mostly to do with my 2 cats (one of them recently rescued) and woodworking hobby.

The Justice of the Peace did a very good job with the ceremony which was, by design, not “religious”. I had purchased a travel-sized Bible from which I would read the message I had selected and decided that I would give it to my cousin as a wedding gift.

I planned to hand it to her after I was finished and told her ahead of time as I did not think it wise to surprise a bride with anything during her wedding. I stumbled through the reading and handed the Bible to her to which she said “I love you”.

After the ceremony at least 6 people of the 60-70 that were there came up to me and politely said “good job”. One, however, said “I’m glad you were here”. I read quite a bit into that comment. I took it to mean “I’m glad this group got to hear from the Lord’s Word today”.

The wedding was on a Saturday and I had arrived at the quaint inn setting at 3:00 PM sharp for pictures. No one was ready. I got to spend a few minutes talking to my other cousin, the brother of the bride, and 3 of his 4 children who travelled there from their home in Europe. The ceremony was at 4:00 PM with dinner at 6:00 PM followed by “joyous dancing” (I don’t do joyous dancing) until all hours.

I left around 9:00 PM for the 20-minute drive back to the nearby town where I was staying. When I arrived at the hotel, I opened the center console of the rental car to retrieve my wallet. It wasn’t there! OK, maybe I had dropped it on my way to the car earlier in the day or maybe I had left it on the seat and it fell to the ground when I removed my coat prior to the ceremony.

Maybe it fell into a side pocket in the car door. At this point, I recalled reading somewhere that you can thank God for answered prayer even before you receive the answer. I went ahead and did that but still could not find the wallet.

I called my cousin who was still in New Fane and he searched the parking lot in the dark but did not find anything. It was then I realized that the wallet had been stolen. Both my wallet and the car rental agreement were in the console and both were now missing. There was no way I had removed the rental agreement and the thief must have just grabbed the paperwork with the wallet.

There were no signs of forced entry so I must have failed to lock the car. It’s now 10:00 Saturday night, I’m 120 miles from the airport in Boston and I have no driver’s license, no credit cards and no cash. The plane leaves around noon on Sunday and I need to leave the hotel by 7:00AM to get to the gate on time.

I decided it was worth a try to again thank the Lord for answering my prayer before His answer was apparent to me. I then called the local sheriff to report the theft and they routed my call to the VT state police who took down my name and phone number in case the wallet was found.

I explained my predicament and asked what would happen to me if I made the 2 and ½ hour drive to the airport without a driver’s license. The person I spoke to was busy handling police dispatch but, between calls, politely told me that if I was stopped, I could explain the situation to the officer and, if I could remember my license number (which

I could) he could verify that I indeed had a license and that he’d then “probably” just let me go. OK, that sounded like a reasonable risk. By then, it was about midnight. How would I check out of the hotel? I had cancelled my credit card.

Don’t they charge your credit card at the end of your stay? Also, once I check out, I could not check back in anywhere with no credit card. Assuming I could just leave, what about the rental car company? Don’t they charge the card when you give them the car back? OK, maybe I just say “here’s your car, I’ll call you later”.

However, once I turned in the car, I would be stuck at the airport with no money. Then came the biggest concern. How would I get on the plane with no ID? One of the people I spoke to at the airline assured me that I was not the first person this had happened to. (Really? I usually am the “first person” things happen to.) OK, what if TSA detains me long enough for me to miss my flight? As it turned out, the TSA agents and supervisor were all very nice.

The first agent had me “stand over there” and the supervisor asked to see whatever identifying documents I still had. I showed him my wedding invitation, hotel bill, boarding passes etc. and he walked me over to another agent with rubber gloves who now knows me better than most. He thoroughly searched my person and carry-on bag and even offered to re-pack the bag when he was finished inspecting everything. OK.

Now I can get on the plane. The remaining hurdle was how I would get my truck out of the parking lot at LAX with no ticket, credit card or cash. I called a friend who sent me $500 on PayPal which I planned to send to my housekeeper/friend in Ventura if she would be so kind as to bring the money to LAX (a 60-mile drive). She said she would but she did not have a PayPal account. She then graciously offered to withdraw the money from her bank account and bring it to LAX.

At this point, I felt that the Lord had answered my prayers but he was not finished with me yet. Early Saturday, I had used airline miles to upgrade my ticket to first class and got the last available seat. Next to me for the 6-hour flight was a pregnant Australian lady. I realized where she was from when she asked me to please take her tote bag and “pop it into the overhead”.

She struck up a conversation which ranged from knitting to her obviously successful fertility treatments. She was planning to meet her “partner” in LA. I, again, fell back on cats and woodworking. The topics drifted into politics and the sad state of affairs in the US. I told her that at some point the Lord would take care of things by sweeping them all away. She was very polite and her expression was
completely neutral as she asked if I truly believed that.

I told her I did. Later in the flight, as I was explaining my lost wallet adventure and how I ended up on the flight despite all the obstacles, she said “I think someone is watching over you”. I said “I agree, and watching over you too”. As with the “Glad you were here” comment at the wedding, I read into her comment at least some recognition that there is “Someone” watching over people.

That was good enough for me with a perfect stranger on a long flight preceded by very little sleep and a somewhat stressful sequence of events.

Maybe the person at the wedding was already a Christian. Maybe they told someone about the “reading”. Maybe the Australian lady was already a Christian. Maybe she will tell someone about our conversation or maybe the people sitting behind us heard it. In any event, the Lord MORE THAN ANSWERED my prayers. He not only took care of me, He gave me the opportunity to witness for Him.

By the way, the parking lot attendant at LAX was going to let me go with a “promise to pay” even if my friend had not showed up with the cash. Also, apparently the credit card company makes provisions for transferring “pending” payments to the new card number when the old card is cancelled.

I sent a text to my cousin saying “there is still some logic and compassion in the universe”. His response was “that’s why there still is a universe”. If you want further proof of this, it only took me an hour at DMV on Monday with no appointment to get my temporary replacement license!