Monday, September 01, 2003

Breath of Life

He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. Acts 17:25

Sixteen thousand miles is a long way to go. I’ve been thankful on more than one occasion for the ease of travel in the 20th century. I don’t have to worry like my 1st century counterparts about shipwrecks and uncomfortable caravan rides. Deciding to travel on to Kirov from Ekaterinburg was a logical choice. After all, we (Barbara and I) would be able to minister to the children we visited the previous October, as well as spending time with members of the Kirov Bible Church. We had a plan and God has His.

As it turned out – it wasn’t one we could begin to imagine. We arrived in Kirov and learned the pastor’s wife had been hospitalized in Sovetsk (2 hours away). The children from one of the orphanages we wanted to visit were on holiday. We prayed and listened, watched and waited, eager to see what He was up to. We enjoyed our time visiting the Sovetsk hospital and were given the opportunity to perform for the children there (the first time outsiders have come and entertained). We used every opportunity we were given, but… did we miss something, was there something more?

After 5 days in Kirov, we both developed serious upper respiratory infections. We were sick, tired, used and utilized, but more than ready to catch the train and go home! One hour before leaving for the train station, the associate pastor came and said “we need $500 for the hospital, now.” Barbara and I were surprised, curious and wondering how we could get the cash in one hour, AND what was it for anyway? “Lord, if this should happen – only YOU can make it happen.” we prayed and left it in His hands. After all, it would take a miracle to get the money in an hour. ATM machines are NOT on every street corner – and none dispense US dollars. I had my debit card but there is a limit on how much can be withdrawn in one day. We arrived at the bank minutes AFTER they closed – but they were willing to let us come in and try and withdraw the funds. After 30 minutes of computerized dial ups, and phone calls to Moscow to complete the transaction – they handed us the cash.

In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:10
We didn’t learn until a week after our return home, what the money and the immediacy were for. The machine supplying oxygen exploded leaving the hospital with only two emergency tanks. The hospital went to the city for funds to repair it – but they were told to wait. Only a little boy could not wait. Once the two tanks were empty he would die. Although our plans didn’t work out, and we couldn’t see His plan, we had no doubt we were where we were supposed to be. No fear, and no war stood in our way or HIS!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Psalm 150:6