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Thursday, January 26, 2017

The storm

Early morning on April 2nd 2015, my wife and younger daughter were to fly from Doha to Dubai first and from there to Tbilisi, Georgia, where they would vacation with my elder daughter studying MBBS there. We had planned to travel to the airport at 10.30 pm on 1st April after I returned from the clinic where I work. There was a gusty wind blowing as I was driving home from the clinic. On reaching home, I had a quick dinner and set out to a nearby hypermarket to purchase a few things to take for my daughter in Georgia. As I stepped out of our flat, I told my wife and daughter to be ready to leave to the airport as soon as I returned.

Out of the building and approaching my vehicle, I saw that the wind had increased in intensity several times and the trees around were swaying dangerously back and forth with small branches flying in all directions. I drove to the hypermarket and parked my vehicle in the parking lot and rushed inside to get the things that I had come for, muttering a few prayers for safety and for our travel to the airport.

A few moments later, they closed the doors of the hypermarket, because the wind was driving dust and debris inside. I finished my purchasing quickly, paid for the same and pushed the trolley to a small door that the security had left open. Once outside, it was like I had stepped on to another planet. The wind was horrific and there was a heavy dust storm raging. I could barely see a few feet ahead. The wind pulled me and the trolley in all directions. I feared something fatal would happen because everything around was being ripped apart by the wind and things were flying all around me. My family was waiting and it was time to leave to the airport. While in the store, I had called my wife and told her about the weather outside and asked her to pray. The pressing issue now was first getting to the house and then to the airport which was 20 minutes away from home. I managed to get the vehicle on to the road and with the hazard lights on, drove slowly towards our building which was a couple of miles away, praying continuously. Visibility was just a few feet and a couple of vehicles passed close by mine. The wind was still swinging the trees wildly and I struggled as I ran with the shopping bags that I had, to the building entrance after I parked the vehicle in the parking.

Once indoors, we prayed again that the Lord may calm the weather so we could travel to the airport. When nothing seemed to be happening for the good and the time for check-in approaching, I tried calling the airways office to cancel the tickets. After a few tries, I got someone on the line, but when I told them that it was difficult to travel to the airport because of extreme weather and  poor visibility, the person at the other end informed me that the flight had not been cancelled and unless we reported at the airport check-in counter, it would be counted as a no-show and we would lose our tickets. I called the budget airways Dubai office to check for what would happen to the return tickets that were booked, but I was politely told that unless we traveled that night, the return tickets would also be useless. The thought of the monetary loss troubled me, but I felt that God was in control whatever the situation be, so after looking one last time at the weather outside through the glassed window, I resigned to the fact that nothing more could be done. We called our daughter in Georgia and when we told her what was happening, she was dejected. My wife and daughter were disappointed too, because several daily prayers had been prayed for this travel since a couple of months. Before I slept, I prayed to the Lord and told him that he could still intervene on our behalf so that we may not lose the money spent in buying the air tickets. I ended my prayer saying, "I don't think I should lose any money, since I have been faithful with finances dear Lord."

Sleep did not come easily with me trying to analyze why all this had happened, but when I did sleep, I saw a dream. In the dream, I was at the airways ticket counter, asking for a refund of our tickets. The man was kind and told me that he would give me a half refund. The dream ended there. When I woke up, I felt that the Lord was telling me something, but I could not fully comprehend it. I prayed to God that he may move the hearts of the airways staff to give me a full refund.

The weather had cleared now when I looked outside and eager to know what had happened to the flight, I called the airways. I spoke to the man at the other end and told him what had happened the previous night and he nonchalantly informed me that the flight had been cancelled due to bad weather and we could re-schedule the flight. All I had to do was call the Dubai office and everything would be taken care of. I heaved a sigh of relief as I shouted a Hallelujah after disconnecting the call. My wife and daughter were happy that there was no monetary loss and they would be travelling soon. All the stress and strain of the past night dissolved in moments.

Everything worked out fine after I called the Dubai office and my wife and daughter could travel a couple of days later in good weather and spend a month vacationing with my elder daughter.

Why the dust storm, why the extreme weather despite having prayed much? Some answers can only be found in God's books. But praise God for his faithfulness.

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