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A Miracle in Miami

I don't use the word miracle much, because I think often it's been watered down in today's society.  Not every really cool thing should be classified as "miracle."  For instance, the fact you found a great parking spot at the mall is probably not a miracle, though you may say "It's a miracle.  I found a spot right by the door."

However, when God intervenes and does something totally out of the ordinary or realm or normal possibilities, "miracle" becomes a good describer.

As many of you know, I'm leading a group of ten to Israel for an eleven day study tour.  We leave Sunday.  I have been planning this trip for over a year and everything was falling into place.  For some reason earlier this week I woke up with a dread that my passport had expired.  I found my passport to check the date.  No problem - it expired February 2008.  So, I put it back and didn't worry about it.

Wednesday of this week at about 3pm I began to go over all the last minute details to make sure everything was in order.  I read a statement that my guide from Israel gave me that said "if your passport expires within 6 months of your return date, the airline will not let you board."  Oh my, this just couldn't be true.  Not only was mine to expire in February, Skipper Rodgers, who is also going was to expire in January.  Following are details of what then transpired.

  1. I called Delta Wednesday at 3:30pm and they said "No way.  You cannot get this done.  You won't be able to board the plane."
  2. I called the US Consulate in Washington DC and the lady I talked to said "I don't think there's anything you can do."  She gave me a little hope and said to call the State Dept. office in Miami and maybe they'll let me walk through.  She gave me a number for Miami.
  3. I called Miami and the first number given was disconnected.  Not too encouraging.  I called the optional number and the operator forwarded me to th Passport office.  The line went dead and so I called again.  This time the call went through.
  4. I talked to a lady in the office.  I told her my situation.  She actually cared (which amazed me.)
  5. She said if I could get down there and bring my current passport, she would get me a new one.  I had some hope, but wasn't sure.
  6. We (Skipper and I) left Thursday morning at 2am and drove to Miami.  We arrived at 8am. 
  7. We made it into the Federal Building and went to the passport office to find a line.  While in line the security guard was giving instructions and one thing he said was "Have your airline tickets in hand."  I was worried.  I left the tickets in Jacksonville.  At that moment another guard came up and said "Can I help the next in line?"  I went to him and said "I talked to (the lady who works there) yesterday.  She told me to ask for her."  The guard said "Go on in and go to window 1."
  8. We went to window 1.  The lady at window 1 was busy, so I had to go to Window 2.  I guess that was God's plan as well.  I told the lady at Window 2 we were there to see the woman I talked to.  She looked up and asked "Are you the guys from Jacksonville?"  Yes.  Then, she went to get our contact.
  9. My new friend (whom I had never met) came out.  They took our forms, bumped us to the front of the line.  We paid and were told to wait while they printed the passports.  There was no line at the windows when we went in.  In a matter of 2 minutes, there were 20 people behind us in line.  We overheard another lady being told that her passport would be ready in about six hours.  We were prepared to wait a while.
  10. We waited for the passport and within 30 minutes had the new ones and were headed home! 

If you have ever dealt with government offices or renewal of passports, you know this is not the norm.  Most folks just told us "Sorry, you'll never get through."  God had other plans.  We stopped and praised God there in the middle of Miami.  We knew He had orchestrated this.  Worried?  Yes I was, and I repented of that.  God came through, just like He always does.  I trusted Him.  I pray you have a chance to trust Him this week.  Remember, He is truly in control. 


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