Duty-Free HOPE

International airports are a Shopper’s Paradise.  Getting from check-in counters to departure gates is never via the shortest path.  Instead, passengers are strategically directed to pass by every possible last-minute, duty-free, spontaneous purchase.

We arrived early at the Queenstown airport.  Ready to depart from New Zealand and fly to Australia. Sorry to leave the beauty and adventure of New Zealand behind.  But eager for a final visit with children and grandchildren before returning home.

We had no intention of purchasing anything.  But our plans changed… in the most unexpected ways.

My Honey decided to buy a bottle of wine for his son.  A very nice sales clerk helped him pick out the perfect chardonnay.  The clerk was a little disappointed with the one-bottle purchase.  He was quick to remind us we could each take three bottles, duty-free.

I simply turned to him and said I never drink any wine.  He thought it was a statement of inexperience. So he “coached” me:  “All you do is get started slowly, sip by sip.”  I told him I had sipped more than my fair share of wine… and many other alcoholic beverages.  Until January 7, 1991… when the Lord said, “Enough is enough.”

What I hadn’t expected was the 10-minute conversation that followed.

He asked me many questions.  How I stopped and why.  How long had I been drinking before I stopped. I couldn’t answer him without giving You the credit, Lord.  For making it clear to me that I had to stop. For being the One who enabled me to stop.

That’s when he told me about his wife.  How she cannot get “enough” to drink.  How she starts and she can’t stop.  How much it is aging her.  How much he wishes she would stop.  How he doubts she ever will.  How hard it all is on him.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”  (Psalm 42:5)

Another of Your priceless God-encounters, Lord.  In the most unexpected place.  I almost missed it.  But I didn’t… thanks to You.

“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”  (Ephesians 5:15-16)

My Honey got some wine today.  Our sales clerk got some HOPE.  Both duty-free.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  (Hebrews 6:19)

The clerk got the better deal… didn’t he, Lord?   If only he will grab hold of it… of You.


Abba’s Girl


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