83. The Wrong Person

83. The Wrong Person

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After

The Wrong Person

Rick’s face shone with wonderful news. “Robin, the Lord wants us to continue with our honeymoon for a long time!”

In utter joy, I hugged him.

“He called me to the mission field.” His eyes filled with purpose. “India is in my heart.” My arms fell to my side. What about me? I thought we would pastor a small country church in the States — near a mall. Had he heard God’s call correctly?

Soon I received my call — from his mother. “Robin, when God called Rick to the mission field, he called you too.”

She began making plans to return our wedding gifts “since you will not need them anymore.”

I gritted my teeth. I would inform Rick when his parents were not around. I was not going to India. “Lord, you have the wrong person,” I said.

I was not going when I had my shots and my passport picture taken.

As we lent our car to my best friend, I still was not going.

While we bought our new luggage, I was not going.

As I resigned my teaching position, I asked for a new application.

As we sold all our earthly possessions at a yard sale, I was not going.

I felt happy at our going-away party, for I was staying.

Sitting on the overseas flight to India, I planned on turning around the moment the plane set down in Iran to catch our connecting flight. The only thing I had to do was inform Rick of my decision. I was not going to be a missionary. I wanted my house inside the safe perimeters of a white picket fence with clothes in dresser drawers and clean sheets on the bed. The Lord simply had the wrong person.

But when I looked into the wonderful blue eyes I fell in love with, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him. Rick and God were a package deal. Just where did I fit in? Was I limiting God from working in my life? Did my attitude scream out, “This far and no further, God?” How did that translate in my marriage?

Changing planes in Iran, we learned the Shah was fleeing the country to save his own life. I wanted to flee with him to save mine. The Iranians were in revolt. I understood the feeling. While Americans were at the airport trying to get out, we were at the airport trying to get in, like salmon swimming upstream.

I decided to break my news to Rick during our two-hour layover. My speech was prepared. My courage gathered, I was at last ready. Rick would soon learn I was returning to the States and my dog. While standing in line, handing my boarding pass to the flight attendant, I opened my mouth to tell him I was not getting on the plane. Just then the announcement came: The airport was now closed due to the revolution. Rick looked rather startled, so I decided to postpone my own startling news for a less stressful moment.

As we drove up to the Commodore Hotel in Tehran, I couldn’t help but notice all the large tanks with cannons pointing toward it. My refuge was the bull’s eye.

Okay, I would tell him a little later. I still had time. Perhaps after he had his morning devotions; scriptures always perked him up.

The next day was Sunday. Rick directed, “Get ready for church.”

“Church? We are in a Muslim country.” I shook my head at him.

“I am sure there is a Christian church somewhere. Let’s go find one.”

“There are people out on the streets shooting Americans!”

“Don’t make excuses, Robin. Just get ready.”

After looking through the phone book, we found a Christian church, and it was only twelve city blocks away. No cabs were available, so we walked.

Shortly after arriving, I decided I would pass Rick a note during church saying I was not going to India. Only first I had to use the restroom. Slowly, I circled down the cement steps and found the room at the end of a long, dark hall in the basement. I locked the creaking door behind me. Ready to rejoin my husband and the lively congregation on the floor above, I tried to unlock the door. It would not budge. I twisted it. I pulled it again and again and again.

“Help!” I cried hysterically into my hands. I surveyed the small room, searching for a window to make my escape. There was none. Three-foot walls of stone surrounded me. I envisioned a revolution taking place on the street above my head while I remained locked in the water closet below. How long would it take for Rick to notice I had been gone too long? He might get sidetracked praying for someone infirmed and forget about his reluctant wife.

As I pulled and pushed the bathroom door I muttered, “God, if Rick’s plan is the center of Your will, why am I so miserable?” Was I fighting against Him as hard as I was against the lock on the door? At that moment, I surrendered totally to Him. I quit pounding and pushing and rattling and struggling. His will was now my will, no matter where it took me — to America, to India or to Niagara Falls.

God had called Rick during a church service; He called me in the restroom under the street.

I pressed the lock one more time and it flew open. “Lord, as easily as this lock opened, please allow me to do Your will. Help us leave this country for India.”

Arriving back at the hotel as giggly honeymooners, Rick and I heard the airport had miraculously opened for only two hours. Our jet awaited us on the tarmac. It was heading east, toward the rising sun. Amazingly, my courage and prayers began to take root.

Stepping out into India, sights, sounds and smells I had never imagined enveloped me; some delightful, some frightening, but all wonderful.

In the mission field, I learned the true meaning of being a child of God and the wife of a committed Christian man. Missionaries and marriage both require teamwork. God and Rick and I were a team.

I had been the right person all along.


~Robin Lee Shope
Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2

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