Clearly, we had gotten into the wrong taxi.
We pulled into the tollbooth lane with a squeal of tires, as the honking SUV cut in behind our car. Suddenly, large and angry men piled out and surrounded our taxi, threatening and yelling in Hindi. Our children sat wide-eyed on our laps, and the baby woke up crying as our driver was dragged violently from the car and pinned against the door. Tollbooth employees watched, silent and unwilling to intervene.
I wanted out of the car. I wanted to be as far away as possible. I did not want my children seeing this. But there was nowhere to go on that hot and lonely highway, blocked by the guarded river ahead. There was no way to turn back. How could I even pray? Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. You have to get us out of here. I saw our taxi driver groveling and pleading with the mob, as they slapped him viciously. Would they kill him?
The tollbooth employee glanced our way. “Wait,” he said in Hindi, “The driver, he will pay the money, and then you will go.” We waited. What else could we do? In the end our driver was released and he drove us on, shaking and gripping the wheel. We were all overwhelmed with what had happened, but at least it was over.
Or was it?
In the days that followed, trauma sent me into a dim place of silence where perceptions of reality became muffled and distorted. I was overwhelmed with an awareness that I was not in control. Two weeks later my five year old daughter was hospitalized with typhoid, and my world slowed even further. I found myself recalling the words of Habakkuk, who said, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will wait to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give this complaint.” And as I poured out my petitions and waited, the fog began to lift.
There were many quiet days and nights spent waiting for my daughter’s fever to break. My mind filled with images in scripture of rains coming to a dry and parched land. She was the sun-scorched land of Isaiah 58:11, waiting to become a well-watered garden, a spring whose waters would never fail. When the fever broke at last, it was to the summer monsoons breaking outside the hospital. I held my child and watched the rains flooding the streets and streaming down the windows. Thirsty, I drank deeply of the promises of God, so worth waiting for.
by a worker in South Asia