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A Testimony Of The Faithfulness of God
Back in the early 80's, the Navy sent me on assignment to Greece. Because Greece can be such a nice place to visit and since I was going for several months, my shipmates encouraged me to take my family along. So, my wife Bonnie and our three children went with me. Chris, our oldest, was 3 at the time. Our daughter August was almost 2; Jeremy was just a baby.
It took a few weeks, but we finally found a nice place to rent in an Athens suburb. It was 15-20 miles from where I worked, so I took a cab back and forth each day. Catching a cab was often the most frustrating part of my day. Many cab drivers simply didn't want to drive out to the airport where I reported for work. Maybe they thought they would have to drive back empty. Others just didn't seem to like Americans. I always left a half-hour early just to leave time to find a cab.
We had been in Greece a few months when I got a message at work that I would be sent out to an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea. A fellow Hebrew Linguist had broken his leg and I was tasked with replacing him. When I asked about my family, I was told "the Navy didn't issue you a family, sailor!" I was told they would have to return home.
We called the airline and activated my family's tickets and started to pack. The morning of their flight we were running late. I'm sure you can picture how hectic things were! Half-dressed kids crying, several stuffed sea-bags strewn on the floor, etc. We hauled everything downstairs and out to the sidewalk. I now had a double dilemma. I needed two cabs to get us to the airport and we were quickly running out of time.
No cabs stopped. I'm sure they took one look at us and sped away with a shudder! Desperate, I ran a couple of blocks up the street to a busy intersection. But, I kid you not, people were hailing cabs at all four corners of that intersection! I walked back completely dejected and said to Bonnie "I don't know what we're going to do." Bonnie is a wise woman, so she gave me an insightful reply. "Pray!" she yelled.
Standing in front of our apartment with almost all my earthly possessions lying around me in big green bags, with my kids crying and squirming and my wife looking at me like a hunted animal, I simply said "O God, you see how desperate we are. Please help us. We need two cabs." I'm telling you the absolute truth. I don't have to exaggerate for my God, the truth is wonderful enough. I no more than got "...in Jesus' name, Amen." out of my mouth, when two cabs pulled up.
The drivers hopped out and started throwing our bags into the vehicles and, just like that, we were on our way to the airport. We were so late and we faced so many hurdles ahead, like trying to find our gate and hauling our bags to the counter and checking in and watching the kids and getting everybody onboard, that I simply didn't have time to reflect on His amazing answer to my prayer.
Later that night, back in my now empty apartment, the goodness and greatness of God struck me. I vowed right then that I would never struggle for another cab to work. "You can take good care of me God," I said. The next morning I went outside and stood against a tree by the side of the road. Instead of waving for a cab, I just stood there reading my Bible. I remember it very clearly - I was reading the Sermon on the Mount.
Almost immediately a cab pulled up, but before I could move he started yelling at me. I have no idea what he said, but he was mad. Then he pulled away. I decided to not let it shake me and went back to reading. Within a couple of minutes another cab pulled up. I hopped in and off we went. Now I was really encouraged. But it got better, a lot better.
When I walked into the office, a co-worker asked, "What are you doing here, Schilling?" "I work today," I answered. "Yeah, but we didn't expect you to make it in," he replied, "a couple others called in already because of the taxicab strike." They then showed me an English language newspaper. The main story that day was about a citywide strike by cab drivers in Athens. They were all headed downtown to drive around honking their horns. I stood there completely awestruck.
I made it to worker faster than ever despite never lifting a finger to hail a cab and even despite a cab strike! I believe the first cab driver pulled over to yell at me something about the strike. I believe the second driver thought he'd make a couple of bucks on the way into town. Both must have felt a tug from God, because I certainly didn't do anything.
My name is Matt Schilling. This is only one of at least a dozen amazing ways in which God has demonstrated to me personally that He is alive and well and mighty to save. I want to assure you there is nothing God cannot do. There is no problem too tough for Him to solve. No one is in so much trouble that He can't help. Call on Him! You'll be glad you did.
© Matthew Schilling December 1995
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