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the strangers

Posted 11:08:13, by Kasey Norton




It’s been a long few days. For no reason in particular, I’ve just felt overwhelmed.

I spent a few days not feeling well and continued battling the exhaustion that never lets up. I just needed to get through these last few hours before Robbie and the rest of the kids got home.

Without a vehicle, and going a little stir crazy, we decided to head out for our second walk of the day.

It’s noteworthy to add that, while it’s November, it remains in the low to mid-90s here in Sukhothai. Not the kind of humid heat you really get excited about taking long walks in. But alas, we threw on our sandals and started out for the park.

Only we thought it was a lot closer to our house than it turned out to be.

Having made it a decent distance and still unable to catch even a glimpse of our destination, my enthusiasm waned a bit.

This was my first day of really venturing out on my own because always before I’ve been with Robbie. It turns out, I hide behind him more than I realized.

Anyway, I was wilting a bit and kicking myself for getting us into such a hot and sticky (quite literally!) situation when, out of nowhere, a man and his son popped out in front of us.

With a huge smile on his face, he motioned toward his truck, which just so happened to be sitting in the middle of the road. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Bewildered, I stared at him. Then it dawned on me that he wanted us to get in and being the sensible, sane, smart and cautious person that I mostly pretend to be I stammered around about how we were just heading to the park, trying for all I was worth to make it sound like it was right in front of us.

He looked at his watch and repeated the word ‘park’ in my native tongue. “Ten minutes.” he said.

Trying to keep up with the pace of our most unexpected conversation, I asked him “It will take ten more minutes of walking?”

“Yes,” he said. And he motioned again toward his truck.

“You want us to get in your truck?” I asked rather stupidly.

He nodded and all of a sudden I found myself ushering my kids toward this perfect stranger’s truck and climbing into the bed, which was blazing hot, by the way.

The vehicle lurched forward and we were off in the direction of the park. The whole time my mind was whirling trying to grasp why I had such a peace about doing something I would NEVER, ever, EVER do in my life.

If you know me, you know I take caution to an extreme.

Yet here we were, riding along in a strange country with a strange man in a strange truck and I knew with absolute certainty that it was okay.

Moments later, he dropped us off at the park and helped lift the little ones out of the back. I asked him how much he wanted to be paid for the ride and he looked at me aghast.

“No, no! I happy, happy, happy.”

We thanked him lavishly in his language and said goodbye.

As my daughter and I watched the kids playing a short time later, I commented to her about how we still had to make the trip back and joked that I wondered if God had a plan for that, too.

Because our plan was just to walk it slowly but I had a hunch God wasn’t done yet.

About an hour and a half later we started for home. It had only cooled off by maybe a degree or two and our water supply had been drained.

But we didn’t get more than 5 minutes along the path before a car passed, hit their brakes and then backed up until they were beside us.

Timid old me, with my extremely limited Thai vocabulary, went up to the car to see what the man wanted.

He wanted us to get in.

I turned around and looked at my daughter and had to hold back the laughter. God was adamantly refusing to let us walk far in the heat.

Again, with a peace that I can’t explain, we piled into a stranger’s vehicle and made our way down the road.

Before the wise mother hens come out clucking at me, let me just tell you that I’m not condoning riding with strangers or hitch hiking (which we were NOT doing!) as a safe practice.

In fact, in the age we live in, I’d 100% lobby against it unless the Holy Spirit makes it very clear He’s put the situation before you.

We had prayed for God’s guidance before leaving the house and again before leaving to return home. We had huddled together after arriving at the park to praise Him for the first ride and that He’d provided for us when I wasn’t sure how well our little asthmatic would hold up going much further.

And the result of those prayers wasn’t only provision, but also peace that the provision was from Him and not the enemy.

I think that’s my favorite thing about the mission field so far ... just the complete shift in perspective.

In America I was governed so much by fear. Common sense ruled and I seldom wavered from my view of what I believed was safe or wise.

But here, my only real fear is displeasing God.

(Seems fitting to edit this to add, not everyone has to be taken from home to learn these lessons. I’m just a tough case.)

The worst of myself has come out. I see my flaws more intimately and I’m ashamed of what stares back at me in the mirror. My need for forgiveness has never felt more urgent.

But I’m thinking that’s not a terrible place to be.

Not liking what we see in ourselves is a whole lot better than being duped into thinking we’re fine while the enemy sits back grinning because we’re playing right into his vile hand.

Today I rode with strangers but tonight I look back and know I’ve been in the very presence of God.

And grateful doesn’t begin to describe it.
——————
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.



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