March 6, 2017

The Vacation

God cares about the seemingly mundane aspects of our lives.

Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste

O  my Father, how did I get here?” I murmured. “What did I do to deserve this?”

I cried silently, tears coursing down my cheeks, as I sat alone on the upper balcony. The night was still, with a cool breeze blowing around me. These were not words or tears of despair but rather of immense gratitude to a God who had proved His faithfulness once again to His child.

Anytime you embark on an adventure (in this case, a much-needed vacation) and your teenager has more spending money than you do, you know you are scraping the barrel. The last-minute decision to use my spending money on a ticket for said teenage offspring resulted in this dire lack of funds. My maternal intuition prompted that decision in the hope that the experience would encourage him to take his education seriously. My hope was that he’d catch a glimpse of the struggles of family members he’d never met to obtain some of the things he took for granted.

With just $100 in spending money to last three weeks, I was unfazed. I’d planned on staying with my family, and simply trusted God to show up. And He did, in a huge way!

A dinner with family culminated with my sister-in-law bestowing on me a monetary gift (just because . . .); an uncle I hadn’t seen in years thought I would enjoy some English pounds (currency); delivering a package for a friend resulted in them pressing a monetary thank- you into my hands despite my protest. Another family member invited us on a three-day trip to one of the islands to stay in a luxurious beach house, all expenses paid. Unbelievable! These individuals hadn’t any knowledge of my dire circumstances. What a blessing!

So there I was, sitting on the balcony of that beach house—in the stillness—having a wonderful conversation with my heavenly Father. As the cool breeze caressed my cheeks I felt as if they were being gently brushed by His very hands. I couldn’t help thanking Him repeatedly for His love and care.

Who would have thought that God would be interested in ensuring that I had an enjoyable vacation, experiencing my homeland through the eyes of my son. Watching him interact with family members he’d never met. Sampling different foods and fruits he had only heard about, such as guava and cocoa pods; climbing a mango tree and actually picking the fruit by hand. The midnight beach tour to watch the yearly ritual of giant turtles that swam ashore guided by unseen hands to lay dozens of eggs on the beach before covering them with sand and returning to the sea. Visiting historical sites and beaches he may never see again.

Most of all, it was rewarding to see him return to school with a sense of purpose that was reflected in his grades and that continues to this day.

Praise God! He really cares!

Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste is manuscript assessment coordinator for Adventist Review.