Before the piercing screams and the sobs that would go on late into that night, I was at an altitude of over 30,000 feet pondering a promise and a fortune — and completely unaware of the devastating confessions awaiting me once the wheels touched the tarmac.
It had been months, many months, since God first told me to stay. And yet, seemingly nothing had changed.
Panic was starting to set in…
“You need to come up with a backup plan,” my father had said while I was visiting my family back home, “…in case things get worse.”
…A backup plan?? …Worse?!?!
His words ignited my greatest fears, roping me in to succumb to my most crippling insecurities.
And while his concerns were valid, he was wrong.
God was asking me to do something entirely different: Absolutely nothing.
“Don’t be afraid.
Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you…
The Lord himself with fight for you.
Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:13-14
That was a promise – A promise God made to me, but a promise God first made to the Israelites when they were up against the staggering hopelessness of the Red Sea.
Just like the Israelites, it was my choice whether or not I listened and believed the Lord’s promise to fight the battle before me. But one thing was certain, there could be no backup plans.
…and that terrified me.
Because while I believed with all of my heart God was promising to rescue me, equally obvious, was He was running out of time….
In fact, just that week I had my first thought to end it all; When while clutching the steering wheel between my hands I realized – with just one sharp turn – all the pain could be gone.
Life was becoming unbearable.
“I know God wants me to stay, I just don’t know how much longer I can keep doing it…” I told my mom over Vietnamese sandwiches one day, and just hours before catching my flight back to NYC.
I noted the look of concern in her eyes. She knew that — But did God?
Moments later, I’ll never forget my mom squealing in delight at the arrival of two fortune cookies proceeding our lunch that day, and how she could barely contain her excitement, pushing the cookies to my side of the table in the name of some lighthearted fun (and Lord willing, a decent fortune for the tortured soul across from her.)
How when she read hers we giggled at its absurdity. But how when I read mine, My mom hung on every word that I said…
…After months of listening to the same verse and after having just been talking to my mom about how I knew God was asking me to stay in New York, and stay with my husband until He made a way through this mess…
I unraveled my fortune to find these ten words:
“You will be rewarded for listening in the next week.”
Hours later, while on my flight back to New York, I took a deep breath and considered the events of the last few days;
The promise – that at times was the only thing in my frailty that held me together when everything else was so ravenously threatening to tear me apart: Stand still. Stay calm. The Lord will rescue you.
The curious fortune – which had me entertaining the thought that maybe, just maybe, God’s deliverance was on the horizon — in the next week!? But I quickly snapped out of that delusion, because it ’twas only a fortune cookie!
As we prepared for landing, I vividly remember tightening my seatbelt, as if to verbalize to God that if He were to reward me for listening, I was ready for whatever He had for me.
I trusted Him.
I then asked God for something I will never forget: Either blow the roof off my marriage, or provide a miracle.
Never anticipating that in the next 36 hours the God (I thought) I trusted would do both.