We are on the road again. Location: Hamburg airport. We went to a hospital checkup, to get to Vince’s spinal rod adjusted and to have a consultation. I zigzag among the passengers. On the outside I differ from the others, because instead of a trolley bag I push a wheelchair, instead of the brand named purse I have an oxygen concentrator dangling from my shoulder, and if someone opened my vanity bag, they would find trach disinfectant powder with a host of other equipment. Suddenly I have a realization: where is the smell of sweat? I walk around here like someone who’s just come from an Olympic game and has won all the possible medals. I have a ‘the world is mine’ feeling, but people possibly see something else.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

We’ve had plenty of sweat in our lives already. We had a situation when five and a half years ago we were on the way to France, in a dense snowfall on the motorway. We moved at a crawl behind the snowplow in the traffic jam. We had already travelled for 8 hours, and we still had 4 hours ahead of us, if we could make the normal tempo. It was a tough winter day, but I clearly remember my body odor. We had no influence over the events. Jesus at that time was only a faint teaching from Bible school, and if I was in a tough situation, I said the Lord’s Prayer quickly. So I remember sitting in the car, not seeing anything through the thick snowfall, although the windshield wipers were working with full force. I asked myself: what am I doing here? I am crazy to have decided to take on a trip like this! Looking back now, indeed we were crazy. We had no oxygen, no, ambu bag, and God seemed very far from us. But He was there; He had to be there, because we were so exposed that if He had not held us in His arms, Vince would not be alive anymore. I am so thankful to God for being able to know that if I don’t look for Him, He still cares and holds my hand. Then sooner or later we get in touch with Him, because He loves being with us and loves giving us certainties in our lives. He did it for us too. Then, there, on that winter day/night we travelled a total of 15 hours instead of the planned 12. Vince didn’t get sick, although we had to stop several times and move him in and out of the car, this between the car temperature of 20 degrees and the -2 degrees outside. Half a year old, with a tracheostomy tube… well, Lord, if you hold something with Your breath, it stays in place indeed!

“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, the Maker of all things, who stretches out the heavens, who spreads out the earth by myself.” Isaiah 44:24

The location again is the airport in Hamburg. I zigzag among the people, and I again wonder at God’s provision, because He has blessed us with so many things once more. I remember, when we booked the plane tickets we found out that a few days later there was going to be a G20 summit in the city. The world leaders organized a meeting exactly during those couple of days in Hamburg. I debated at that time whether I should change our booking in this bombing/trucks driving into the crowds kind of world, but then I asked Jesus instead to take care of us. It was an astonishing experience to know that people were starting fires and the police were trying to create order with water cannons only a few kilometers from us, and we got to the hospital very quickly by taxi, because all the commuters had rescheduled their lives because they knew roads would be closed because of the protesters. Then when we arrived to the hospital, we got a room that had a 30m2 terrace in front of it with a sunshade and lounge chairs. When I saw it, I smiled and I thought ‘hospital deluxe’. We finished very fast with the examinations, the rod adjustment, the x-rays, the consultation and the size change of the trach, and we even had time to walk down to the bank of the Elba to eat some fish and chips. Seriously, as we sat by the river and looked at the cargo ships I am pretty sure all the people walking by thought that we were on a vacation. And at this juncture they are right, since Jesus calls us to find joy and to be abundant in the riches that surround us, even if we go to bed in a hospital room.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” Psalms 91:4-7

The crowd rolls along at the airport. I have time to look at people’s faces. Some are shocked, because they see that a little boy is in a wheelchair at the dawn of his life. Some look away with indifference. Some smile, because they discover complete happiness on Vince’s face, then they look at me, we smile at each other, and I can tell they are trying to figure out the secret of the harmony that embraces and protects us. Jesus has provided me with the perfect deodorant, and now I could experience it again. The last 12-hour car trip we had to Hamburg has dissolved. There is no turning sick on the back seat, no numb legs because I can’t stretch them for hours. There is no two-day trip there and another two back, so we won’t get Vince too worn out. There is no one-night unpacking, setting up equipment, then packing it away again, etc. I travel like a triumphant winner who has just won the Olympics, and now, freshly showered, with no smell of sweat, feeling proud I walk next to my trainer, who is no other than God!

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Psalms 36:7-9