The date was June 15, 2001, the time was 0900 hours, the place was JFK International Airport in New York. I had travelled from Johannesburg to New York aboard South African Airways for much of the previous night, and I was due to continue my travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to attend a conference. It so happened that I was carrying with me US$2,800.00 in 28 $100 bills in an unmarked envelope. (I was not unaware of safer methods.)
In so much hurry to make a travelling connection, I dropped both the money and the tickets, and realised this predicament only at the terminal where I was due to make the connection! Fortunately, I had faith that my God would not abandon me in this loss, and I had not lost my passport.
After a repetition of several visits to the "Lost and Found" place, in vain, and a report of my loss to the police, I realised that I had to drop the dream of finding what I had lost, in favour of some other redeeming action. I had no money to make a telephone call to Michigan! Short of my God, I was a pauper in New York! Returning to the "Lost and Found" booth one more time, and after I had failed to persuade anyone in the terminal with means to place a call to Michigan on my behalf, I pronounced my need to make a telephone call, to nearby listeners. None of them seemed to react till I asked in a steady voice, "Is there a good Samaritan here?" Only then did a gentleman move to some drawer, pull out a ten-dollar bill, and pass it on to me, to go and buy a phone card. In my great appreciation, I wanted to know his contact particulars, but he declined my request!
A long story must now be cut short. One telephone call to East Lansing, Michigan, raised another telephone call to Manhattan, Kansas. A cousin in Kansas completed the divine circuit of rescue with a call to South African Airways at JFK with instructions as to the means of communication between me and her. Through Western Union money transfer, I got money both for a ticket to Kansas and a meal. At 1800 hours New York time, I was having the meal, and was ready to board a plane to Kansas. In Kansas, and together with my relatives, we worked out how to proceed with my journey to Michigan in time for the conference.
The tickets were later found, but not the money. There was a flood of human kindness and understanding in this loss. Without this experience, I would not have captured the essence of today's Scripture verse:
Isaiah 55:1 – Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (KJV)
Prayer: Mighty God, You have shown us how our trust in You never fails to protect us! Yes, You have calmed the sea to save our ship from sinking, and, so often, we have bought wine and milk without money, by the fountain of Your love. Strengthen our faith in You and banish all human doubt about Your saving grace to those who call upon You for protection. Amen.