Remember the phrase "Until the lost be found"? That was the motto of the Trans-European Division presentation at the GC session 2000 in Toronto. I wasn't thinking of the motto when I was preparing to attend the GC session. Actually, I was thinking of achieving two of my biggest dreams—to fly on an airplane and to attend a GC Session.
Prior to the trip, my husband and I, along with our congregation, were busy building the new church in the Gypsy settlement near the Macedonian capital, Skopje. We were preoccupied with our task and didn't have much time to prepare for the trip.
Two days before our flight we bought our suitcases and packed our things. Since it was an international flight, I decided to purchase reliable, durable bags. I chose two silver-gray, hard-shell Crown suitcases, sizes large and extra-large.
I assumed there would be lots of meetings at the GC session and I wanted to attend as many as possible. I did not want to worry about clothes so 1 packed both suitcases full of our casual and sport clothes as well as our best and most valuable church clothes. After all, we were going to a special meeting . . . a celebration . a solemn encounter with our God and our large church family.
Since I had no flying experience, I did not know it is best not to pack everything in our big bags. In went our Bibles, reports about our church and ADRA work, photos and videotapes. The only items we carried on the plane were my purse, our passports and my husband's video camera.
Both my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our flight. We switched planes in Amsterdam and London and finally arrived in Toronto. After leaving the airplane, we went to get our luggage. Of course, you guessed it, our luggage was delayed!
Can you imagine our disappointment and embarrassment? We had nothing with us but our passports and a video camera arid we were to be in Canada for three weeks! Our calls to the toll free delayed baggage claim number proved futile. I was distressed. I am very particular about my clothes; I had packed my best summer and autumn outfits. My shoes and purses were in those suitcases along with all my wardrobe accessories. What a disaster!
Two days after arriving, we were told our luggage had been found. Unfortunately, the statement never proved true. To this day, we still have not had our luggage returned.
Our stay in Canada lasted 22 days. Every night we would wash the clothes we wore during the day and dry them with a hair dryer and iron. What an ordeal.
Though we wrote more than 20 letters to Air Canada, we never received an explanation as to where our luggage went. We did receive a very modest reimbursement; it did not even cover a third of our lost valuables. We were unable to replace the quality clothes we had lost.
This unpleasant experience did, however, teach me several important spiritual lessons. Just as I painstakingly searched for our lost bags, God searches for the lost me. Never does He tire and give up. Whenever I checked the internet to find the status of our bags, the words "search in progress" popped up. The same can be said of God. He continually searches for us whenever we get lost in the valleys of our sorrows, troubles, doubts and disappointments.
Though our names were removed from the Air Canada internet list six months after our luggage was lost, God never removes our names from Heaven's internet site. God never tires of our prayers and petitions to Him.
Though the airline left me high and dry with no answers to my questions, God never leaves me without an answer. It is not always the answer I expect, but it is an answer—God's answer given in God's time and in God's way.
I also learned never to he so attached to my earthly treasures, even my church clothes. The time is coming when earthly treasures will not be needed. Jesus is coming to take me home.
And when I go home with Jesus, there will be clothes I have never seen waiting for me. The clothes will be made on the "heavenly looms"— the white robe of Christ's righteousness. These clothes will be given to me as a gift and the color white will suit me just fine. The lost will be found.