1. The time I spent in Afghanistan was enlightening and even enjoyable, but it did have its very serious moments, especially around issues of personal safety. I did not worry because I knew that many people were praying for me. More important, I anticipated that God would surround me with a bubble of protection. God always has.
2. God's protection does not mean that nothing ever bad happens to me. Of course, it does. Sometimes in large measure. Read, for example, my post on how muggable I appear to be. What it does mean is that somehow through it all, regardless of whatever bad befalls, I am not harmed. An interim priest once told me that he wanted to watch to make sure that I made it to my car okay (a difficult task since I had walked to the church!). I responded that he did not need to because I felt protected by God, and he responded, in an odd, sotto voice, "I believe you are." I know I am! (Why? Well, that's a different question, and one I cannot answer.)
3. Then there was the really close call that Lizzie and I had many years ago when she was eleven and we were walking home from the metro in what was then a lesser developed area of Arlington, Virginia (now the site of a thriving mall). Three apparently stoned young men marched behind us, chanting "you're going to die" for quite a ways until we were able to get away from them. Lizzie, fortunately, did not panic, but there was indeed a question in my mind whether we would walk away from that situation alive. (See the whole story on Clan of Mahlou: "Stalked by the Stoned.") That was a time we definitely needed protection!
4.And then there was the angel of Beirut, another story related in Mahlou Musings. In that case, I was visiting Beirut and had apparently wandered into an anti-American part of town that might have housed some characters prone to criminal activity. The "angel" that appeared out of nowhere to tell me to turn back seemed to me to be a moment of divine protection. (Read the story and see what you think.)
5. Finally -- well, not finally, just a last example from among many I could choose from -- it seems that no matter what happens in my travels, my adventures always end with my safe return home. There are upon occasion, however, disconcerting moments. Often, those moments are associated with being abandoned -- arriving in a country or city for the first time and not being met as planned. One such time occurred in Brazil ten years ago when the US Embassy driver failed to show and, being a weekend, no one knew how to dispatch him. So, I was stranded in Sao Paolo, while needing to be in Campinas to conduct seminars for the next day. Fortunately, I had sat beside a man from Campinas on the plane, and he had given me his number to call when I was in town. Well, I will let you put two and two together, but the short story is that I took a bus to Campinas, called Eddie, met his wonderful family, and he figured out how to reach someone who knew where my hotel reservation was. How well and creatively God provides for our safety and our sanity!
More information about one of the Thankful Thursday memes can be found at the website of Women Taking a Stand. This meme host is shared with other blogs so you will need to check to see which one is hosting any given month. This month the host is Lynn at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.
Link up with Greg's and Daryl's Thankful Thursday at Greg's General Store.