Thursday, June 16, 2016

From a Panic Attack to God Singing Over Us at an Airport in India

Two months ago, the night before our flight out of Atlanta, the first physical step in thousands of miles we were to take in the direction of our Pearl, I slept for barely two hours.

The burdensome weight of years of waiting for this moment to come, coupled with the reality of what we were actually doing the following morning, combined with the overwhelming sadness of being separated from Gloria and Grace for two weeks finally caught up...and overtook me.

Every kind of emotion, all the excitement, the anticipation, the fear, the tears, and yes, even nausea came out.

What I know now, but didn't comprehend then, was that I had a panic attack.  And it was bad.  Very bad.

Even though the anxiety inside me was greater than either my body or my mind has ever experienced, even though I was balled up on my bathroom floor, I still heard a very specific, very real command spoken to my spirit.

"Stand firm."

It was one I'd noticed God emphasizing, highlighting to me from His Word for weeks leading up to that moment.

"Finally, be strong in the LORD and in His mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God
so that you can take your STAND against the devil's schemes...
Therefore put on the full armor of God,
so that when the day of evil comes,
you may be able to STAND your ground,
and after you have done everything, to STAND
STAND FIRM then..." Ephesians 6:10-14a
In those middle of the night moments, I wavered. I doubted. I lost faith. Every promise God had given us, all the miraculous deeds He'd done on our behalf, all the hope of the future nearly flew out the window.  I was weak and crippled by fear.

"Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me...
For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
The very same One whose powerful words spoke all of creation, all of life into existence, spoke to me, cared enough for His daughter's trembling heart, to speak and to comfort and to infuse courage back into it.
And the next morning?
Though weeping may remain for a night, rejoicing comes in the morning!

Exhausted, yet elated, we boarded our first flight and left America behind. We flew about nine hours, landed in Frankfurt, Germany, had a six-hour layover and then boarded our second flight. We flew eight hours and finally landed at the Delhi airport in India.
It was just after midnight when we arrived. Though beautiful and exotic, nothing was familiar. We truly felt like the foreigners we were in a distant land.
We stood in line to get our boarding passes for our next flight, the one to Pune, where Pearl's orphanage was located.  We went through security and began our long trek to the other side of the airport where our next departure gate was located. 
Since we had several hours before our connecting flight, we decided to find a quiet place to take a moment to collect ourselves. We found just that in a more secluded area of the airport, right in front of a coffee shop.
Most of this side of the airport was still asleep. The refreshment stands and restaurants were not open for business, it being 3:00am local time. The atmosphere was calm and peaceful. Just what we needed after all the hustle and bustle through which we'd just come.
The coffee shop was just opening their doors for the business of the day.  Derek and I sat down at a table several yards in front of the store. 
Derek began looking over some of our important documents, the itinerary, etc., while I put my feet up and reflected over all that we'd been through the past 24+ hours.  All the travel, all the roller coasters of feelings I was still battling, all the requirements that still had to be met to get our girl.
We'd only been seated a couple of minutes when someone, somewhere, turned on some music. Just a couple of notes played through the speakers, breaking the eerie silence, when Derek and I looked up from our own personal revelries, locked eyes and gasped.
We could not believe what our ears were hearing.
In the middle of Indira Gandhi International Airport, in the capital of India, in the midst of all things Indian, this is what we heard from a voice we recognized immediately:
"Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone.
You're a Good, Good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am
Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love...
You're a Good, Good Father
It's who You are, it's who You are, it's who You are
And I'm loved by You
It's who I am, it's who I am, it's who I am."
(Chris Tomlin)
Familiar words from a familiar voice. In a foreign land, far away from all that was familiar to us.
We knew the lyrics of the song well. 
By heart actually.  We humbly join in worship with other believers, other children of the Most High, to sing that song regularly at our church.
We know the Good, Good Father well, too. 
Individually, and as a married couple, we've walked with Him for years.  And yet, He still blew us away with this "tender whisper of love in the dead of night".
Tears fell. From both of our eyes. We were speechless. And overwhelmed. All we could do was remain still.  His presence so thick we were nearly undone.
In a country, in an airport where contemporary praise/worship-filled music most certainly is not the norm, He showed us He was there. Immanuel, God with us. That He sees, that He knows, that He cares about every single detail.

That He goes before us, fights for us and would indeed be our "cloud by day" and "fire by night" on this journey. And most of all, that He is the Father to the fatherless.
That moment gave us an unexplainable, incomprehensible peace we hadn't had before, erasing anxiety and fear, causing an immense, all-encompassing, bold-as-lions courage to swell inside our hearts.
How could we ever forget that moment?
The moment when God proved (once again) how perfect He is in all His ways.  When He took over the sound system, the intercom, in a Hindu-dominated country so that His daughter and His son might be encouraged with familiarity, with Truth, and the closeness of His presence.
Only His mighty arm is that strong and only His Father's heart is that personal, that intentional and that attentive to what His children need at just the moment they need it.
Only a Good, Good Father does that.
"The LORD your God is with you,
He is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17
**For the record (or for any doubting Thomas's out there),we sat and listened to hours of music following this incident while we waited for our next flight.  NEVER was there any other song similar to this (or even sung in English for that matter) played over the airwaves while we were at the airport.**

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