…the godly man’s life is exciting. Proverbs 14:14b (TLB)
“And Lord, let Marthe have some adventures,” my friend Lynn prayed just before we left for vacation in France. Peter and I had been practicing our French for months, and we looked forward to a leisurely meander through the villages and on down south to Avignon and the Côte d’Azur.
Landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport, the largest I’d ever seen with thousands of people scurrying about, we retrieved our luggage and began scanning the crowd for Philippe. Our friends had said that staff member Philippe would be carrying a sign with our name and would take us to their house in a village near Orléans.
We looked and looked for someone who might be Philippe, but no one had a sign with our name. After a rather long wait, I suggested that Peter stay put with the bags while I ventured around looking for someone I’d not yet met. Thirty minutes or so later, there was no Philippe. I reported back to Peter and continued searching. More time elapsed, and we still hadn’t sighted our driver. We regrouped to determine our next steps. Now, Lord, getting lost in a major international airport is not my idea of adventure, I thought.
After more searching for what seemed like ages, I prayed desperately, “Lord, please, let the next man I run into be Philippe.” I stepped back into the crowd and looked up to see an intense young man making his way toward me. I went up to him and said, “Phillipe?” “Oui,” he answered. “Madam Curry?” Thank God. I took Philippe to meet Peter, and we learned that he was expecting us to be carrying a sign. Our first international adventure (and challenge in cross-cultural communication).
We enjoyed a few days of touring in the Centre region of France and then headed south in the car furnished by our friends. Once on the autoroute I was agitated when I glanced at the speedometer and saw the high speed at which we were traveling, but even then, the French drivers were passing us in droves.
We detoured several times to see quaint villages and acres of poppies and yellow rapeseed fields embracing the roads. For lunch we stopped at a tiny farmhouse along the way, devoured the daily special, and were ready to leave when we were told that we had only eaten the appetizer! The main dish would follow. Just one more adventure.
The drive was more picturesque than we’d foreseen. Besides large swaths of color, the scenery included installations of highway art—large, powerful sculptures. Miles down the road, and as the sun was easing over the horizon, Peter and I reflected on the sweet, relaxing day. We had just left the environs of Lyon and were within an hour of our first stop, a sunflower farm, when we were jolted from our reverie by a crash in the rear. Someone had run into our car and almost knocked us off the autoroute! Only Peter’s skillful driving (and those prayers) kept us intact.
Peter carefully guided the car to the shoulder of the road, and we both got out rather shaken. Another vehicle pulled off and stopped directly in front of us. Two young men—the ones who had hit us—rushed toward us, both speaking at the same time. “My friend’s neck is hurt,” the first one spoke accusingly. “But you hit us,” I countered. The man continued to argue while Peter went around inspecting the damage to our borrowed vehicle. In the middle of my conversation, I looked up in time to see that the second young man had jumped into our car and was pulling onto the autoroute. While Peter and I stood in astonishment watching the car disappear into traffic, the first young man got into his car and took off.
All I could do was repeat the license number over and over until Peter pulled out paper and pen to write—in between exclamations of shock and remembrances of such tales reported in the news. We stood helpless on the side of the autoroute in the gathering darkness, and a soft, gentle rain began to fall.
(On Monday read the next installment of this adventure and God’s providence.)
Father, again I say thank you for sparing us, and thank you for grace that was and is given in abundance. You are always faithful. AMEN.