“It’s a test.”
My co-worker’s eyebrows lifted with utter assurance when she said this statement to me. Later I thought of watching television as a child. Always on Saturday morning in the middle of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids the TV screen would change and a man’s nasally voice would state, “This is a test. This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.”
On June 1st my daughter traveled across the equator. She traveled a distance of over 5,000 miles to serve for almost two months in a Hospital of Hope near Cochabamba, Bolivia. During those two months we communicated a couple of times a week through Skype, Facebook and Gmail. During the entire length of her stay I rarely ever worried or was concerned about her safety. (Though I learned later there was reason to be.)
At noon this past Sunday she was scheduled to fly out of Bolivia and arrive in Kentucky in the early afternoon on Monday. After Saturday morning all communication was gone.
On Sunday I began to think about all of her connections and layovers. Every time slot was crucial. If she missed one connector then she would miss another one. I thought that most likely she was traveling alone. And her phone was turned off.
Monday morning my heart was uneasy. Scenarios began to parade around in my head. I was concerned. I talked with her father (he was going to pick her up at the airport); I asked him to contact me as soon as he touched her. I was teaching a creative writing class and kept my phone close to me—with the volume turned as loud as possible.
Friends were praying.
This is when my co-worker said, “It’s a test.”
My mind was a frantic mess. One minute I was calm, reasonable and logical. The next I was fretting. Every time I was anxious I attempted to immediately let her go back into the hands of the Father. My daughter belonged to him. I kept trying to remind myself of this truth.
I had entered a blind spot.
I couldn’t see or hear Katherine.
Twenty-four hours of silence.
I didn’t know whether she had made her connectors or how long her layovers were.
My phone rang during class—ten minutes before her flight was due to land—her father said, “I have her!”
“How does she look?” I asked.
I stopped in the middle of my class and took a few moments of silence. I needed to pray and thank my Father.
Later that night we were all sitting around a table on the porch listening to Katherine’s stories. She began to tell us about everything that happened when she left Bolivia. (Remember my concerns from earlier in the day.)
She went to church; she planned to leave quietly from there to catch her first flight. When she got up to leave the congregation realized she was leaving for the United States. They dismissed church and most of them went with her to the airport. A tradition had been started earlier in the summer—the remaining volunteers would go to the airport to see the others off and to pray for their return trip. When the group circled to pray for Katherine the entire airport lobby was filled.
And she had another volunteer traveling with her for part of the trip.
When they got to their next connection, two missionary families met them at the airport. They ate lunch together and stayed with the girls for the entire duration of the layover including the two hour delay! At last she boarded the plane for Miami and was able to make her connector for home despite the two hour delay.
While Katherine was sharing, I began to cry.
All I could hear was the Lord’s voice:
Tamera, I am in control. Nothing is beyond me. I took care of Katherine—better than you even imagined. You must learn to trust me in the blind spots. Trust me with the places you can’t see. Trust me when you are thrust into the darkness and your vision is gone and your hearing is impaired. Know that I am good and faithful. Let this experience be a reminder for you to trust me.
This was a test.
Only a test.