Trusting God isn’t easy sometimes.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

At the border crossing in Africa, I wasn’t permitted to stay with the two women I hired to carry my suitcases.

A policeman pointed to the left side of the border. “Keep walking.  Your luggage will meet up with you on the opposite side.”

I’ve always been attached to material things and didn’t want to be separated from them. I needed hair curlers, shampoo, underwear, baking powder and cinnamon which weren’t available in Africa at that time. 

Today it’s normal in 2012, to be kept apart from your luggage, especially in airports where homeland security requires they be inspected. But years ago in a third world country, I didn’t want to surrender my suitcases to strange women.

For me crossing the border required checking in and out of ten offices for customs, immigration, handbag inspection, questionnaires, passport check and vaccinations. I lost sight of the two women on the opposite side of the chainlink fence.

 I turned to an officer. “I don’t see the women carrying my bags.”

“No problem. They will meet you on the opposite side.”

When I reached the neighboring border the women with my suitcases weren’t there. The officer said. “They took your bags to the taxi station.”

I walked another five hundred yards to the station, but there were no women or bags. So I got permission to go back across the border to look for them.  

“God, how could I trust strangers with everything I owned?”

The Lord said, “You can’t. But you can trust me with all you have.”

I marched back and forth from the border to the taxi station four times, asking about my baggage.  

One man said. “Your suitcases are at the taxi station.”

Another told me. “No, your bags are back at security.”

A different one said. “Your suitcases are up ahead.”

Another policeman spoke. “Your luggage is waiting for you.”

The women had been detained in an obscure room by six officers who’d taken everything out of my bags.  Stressed and fatigued after travelling for forty-eight hours and searching for the bags, I was so relieved to see them, I dropped to the ground and sobbed.

I cried and cried with more intensity than I’d done in a long time. Military officers and policemen at the border rushed out of their stations and ran to me.

“Tell us what happened to make you cry.” Everyone begged me. “Please stop crying.”

But I couldn’t stop crying.

They called in a “specialist,” a distinguished, well-dressed African gentleman about 60 years old. He pleaded in a soft, encouraging voice. “Please stop  crying. You will make yourself sick.”

Seeing their concerned expressions, I took in a deep, ragged breath to halt my tears.

The gentleman came closer. “Please tell me what is troubling you. Did someone steal your money?”

I sobbed and shook my head.

“Did someone steal your passport?”

Again I shook my head.

“Did someone hurt you?  Did someone torture you?”

Torture me? Hearing those words, my sniffling turned to hysterics. Suddenly it was all in perspective. My shoulders shook and body trembled as more tears raced faster down my face in laughter. I hadn’t been tortured.

But the crowd of onlookers gasped.  “The important white lady has been tortured.”

“No.” I wiped my face. “I’m crying because I thought I’d lost all my belongings.”

The man grimaced as if I were crazy. “That’s no reason to cry.”

He was right.  Thinking you’d lost everything on earth was no reason to cry. So why was I crying?

BECAUSE  I’d trusted two strangers with all my luggage, instead of trusting God.

If I’d had trusted God, I would have had peace and not been so stressed at the thought of losing everything.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5


Join me next Saturday,



About celestecharlene

I served as a medical missionary in West Africa for thirty years treating the sick and establishing health clinics in rural neglected areas.
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