We were in a pickle for sure. The queue of people waiting to catch a cab must contain at least 100 people. Most, in groups of two or three, easily clamber into the comically small, economy car taxis that pull alongside the curb. No way my crew of five would fit, even if we double buckled in the back seat…too much luggage. We each have one suitcase and one backpack, pretty compact for the length of our trip, but still way too much to even consider trying to wedge in one of those micro cars. I can’t split up. There’s no way I’m putting Katie or Megan and one of the boys by themselves in the car with a strange man in a foreign country. My mind is racing.
Then hope pulls around the corner. A mini-bus sized taxi that will easily swallow us all and our baggage. It whips up to the curb but only one man walks up, slides open the door, hops in and motors off. I’m raging inside, but my face is mostly implacable to prevent the children from worrying. What a waste! “Idiot, can’t you see that’s MY taxi?” I’m shouting. No one acknowledges my outburst and thankfully I realize I’ve only been screaming it around between my ears. Phew.
This won’t do. The line begins to shrink rapidly as the hungry drivers gobble their fares and motor away. Another mini-bus motors into position. Perhaps someone will notice our predicament this time I think. Nope. Three people hop in with shoulder bags and are whisked away. A few minutes pass before a third mini-bus arrives. I actually step out of line prepared to muscle my way forward to claim it, ready to push aside anyone who dares lay hands on MY transport. I’m too late. Its gone with a partial load before I can get close.
We weren’t supposed to be here. Waiting in this line. That’s what ticks me as well. Our plane was an hour late landing in the tropics and when I called the rental car agency for an airport pickup I got, “Oh sorry mate, I’m the only one here now since its after five and can’t leave. We’re just a five minute ride from the airport, can you catch a cab?”
“Um, sure, but you know I’ve got five in my party plus luggage and we can’t split up, right mate?”
“Aye, just grab one of the big taxis. They’ll be easy to catch. No worries now, see you in a couple minutes. Bye bye.” His sing-song farewell phrase would be cute if it didn’t feel so much like the American death knell when giving directions: “No problem, you can’t miss it!”
No worries. Right. I’m stuck on the curb, hope shrinking. Wait. No worries. That’s it. Brilliant! I gather the children close and pray out loud, “Father, you know we need a ride. Its gotta be one of those vans, otherwise I’m riding shotgun on the hood. We trust you to take care of us now.” I smile at them and reassure them with quick hugs all around. Let’s see how God provides. My gut is slowly untwisting, but I’ll admit, I’m still sweating and its not just the heat and humidity of the wet tropics in far North Queensland. I take a few deep breaths and remember the gentle nudge. He’s present.
Another micro-bus pulls up, we’re only a few parties back now. Nope. Gone. This time I actually chuckle. Just wait I think…trust and wait. No taxis appear for a couple of minutes. I bury worry without eulogizing it. Then four vehicles slide into view around the turn. Three wee cars and a van at the end. I can’t sort the groups in front of us in line. We all surge forward and the other travelers veer toward their chosen car. No one takes the van. Its the only one left and so are we. Provided. Just for us. No pushing, no shoving, no shouting. The right one at the right moment, perfect timing. We pile in with room to spare, our luggage easily stowed in the back. God is good. He knows our need.
That was November 27th, at the end of our second day in Australia and still just the very start of the trip. God’s provision of a taxi at exactly the right time helped me relax and enjoy the rest of the week. Even on the mornings we ran late due to traffic, got lost on unfamiliar roads or simply tried to find parking, I knew God would take care of us.
In the tropics of the western Pacific where we stayed, it is just heading into the monsoon season. The forecast was for rain every day. And it did rain, but never interfered with our activities. In fact our best day on the Great Barrier Reef started in the pouring rain at the wharf. By the time we reached the reef some 20 miles off shore it was partly cloudy and smooth as glass. So smooth in fact that the boat crew noted that the sea is only this glassy about one month out of the year. Thanks Lord! Rays, sharks, giant clams, christmas tree worms, multi-hued fan and staghorn coral, parrot fish, clown fish and so many more I couldn’t possibly name. Our three days on the reef were amazing.
During our last snorkel stop of the week we decided to take one more swim around. Luke started hooting through his snorkel and then out of the blue deep a large sea turtle appeared heading right for us. We swam right above it for a good ways before it left us behind with a quick sweep of its flippers. So cool! I’d asked the Father to give us a memorable moment on the reef. Several guides said they’d gone years without seeing a turtle of that size up close. And it came when all five of us were in the same group instead of split off in pairs and trios. Again, perfect timing.
The nine days in Australia ended all too soon and we found ourselves on the plane to Auckland. My tickets plainly said “meals available for purchase” but as we boarded the flight attendant looked at our boarding passes and said, “Oh you have “the works” on your tickets. That means you get free food and drinks.” Again, thanks Father. I hadn’t asked for or paid for any upgrades. Provision.
Timing and Provision.
Be Gone, B-9, Be Healed…its a way of life!