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5. We Went Through Fire and Water

But You led us to a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:12)

It came without warning. In a riveting instant we were faced with a medical situation beyond our ability to resolve. Every mother knows that helpless feeling when a little one’s temperature is climbing consistently, steadily out of control. Being in a foreign communist country thousands of miles away from the familiar only heightened my sense of desperation. 

Strep throat was the diagnosis, and our 2-year-old daughter was the victim. Not Larry, not me, but our little girl. Accompanying the diagnosis was the doctor’s grave statement, "No liquid form of antibiotic exists in this entire country." Thusshe would have to receive injections twice a day for two weeks. In this protocol, a nurse would come to our upstairs apartment in the home of a Polish family, and give her the shots  Twice. A. Day. For. Two. Weeks. I fought panic as I pictured what this would mean for our little toddler. 

A vice grip of pain squeezed my mother’s heart, and Larry and I did the only thing we knew to do. We prayed. We recalled God’s promise in Philippians 4:19, “My God shall supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” All. The verse said, “All”.

Through the Lord’s unique leading, we discovered the doctor at the British Embassy had just the antibiotic in liquid form that our little one needed. However…he was in Warsaw and we lived in Krakow. Not having a car and battling her raging temperature, we determined that Larry would have to fly to Warsaw to get the medicine.

If all went well, he would be able to go and come in one day, and the treatment could begin. She and I waited at home while her Daddy made the journey to the capital of this communist country to acquire a bottle of antibiotic. We had supper and I placed her in her little bed. “God help us,” I prayed. And I waited an agonizing wait.

After what seemed like an eternity, I heard the sound my aching ears and aching heart longed to hear - a car. I pulled back the curtain and saw under the dim streetlight the outline of a taxi, a Soviet model Fiat.

With the precious bottle of medicine, in hand, Larry rushed up the stairs to our apartment. Together we woke her from feverish sleep to administer the first crucial dose. Only then in the faint light did I notice the package I held in my hands. The envelope we had ripped open, the one containing the medicine, was a simple brown envelope bearing in bold black type the inscription: “On Her Majesty, The Queen’s Service”.

I stood frozen in my spot beside her bed. “Oh my, oh my,” I thought.  “God is treating our little girl like a Queen, and He is royally meeting her needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  

On a dark night in Krakow, Poland, standing beside a simple crib, my heart found an altar. In the face of a very real medical emergency, I learned a lesson: God is not a God of either-or, but a God of both. With a very tender and personal touch God showed me that He was interested in the Gospel going throughout Eastern Europe, but He in His faithfulness was simultaneously, and just as thoroughly, committed to taking care of our little family in the process.

The simple brown envelope has a special place in the archives of our family; the memory has a special place in my heart. “He gently leads those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11c)