I started off the new year losing my suitcase while traveling. It wasn’t the greatest start, but in fact, I learned so much through the experience.

I was on a return flight back from visiting my grandkids in the U.S. for Christmas and had taken the opportunity to do some “once a year” shopping for equipment and vitamins that are hard to get or very expensive in Indonesia. So the contents of my suitcase were especially important to me. It was agonizing to think about the loss, and I clung desperately to the hope that God would work things out and help me get my suitcase back.

Looking back, it’s clear there were some things I could have done better. When I first checked in, the airline personnel assured me my bag would go all the way to my destination. At my stopover, however, there was a big sign saying, “International transit passengers, please claim your baggage before checking in for your flight.” I blissfully ignored the sign, thinking my suitcase was special, because of what I’d been told at check-in.

Most likely, though, God was trying to draw my attention to that sign. However, I ignored the sign, and my suitcase got left on the baggage claim belt in Canada, while I went merrily on my way!

When I landed at my destination and realized my suitcase wasn’t there, I was panic-stricken. Fortunately, the baggage station manager assured me that they would backtrack my itinerary and try to locate my suitcase, and then send it to my house 150 km away from the arrival airport!

Then followed three long days of waiting for my suitcase to finally arrive. Those three days were filled with feelings of frustration and helplessness. I berated myself for ignoring that airport sign telling me what to do. How could I follow God if I can’t even follow directions on a sign? Then someone sent me a note via social media with the verse “Be still and know that I am God.”1 —That was exactly what I needed to hear. There was nothing I could do but be still and depend on God to work things out.

I was fortunate that in the end, my suitcase did finally reach me—all the way from Canada to Indonesia, and then another 150 km to my home in the countryside. And all the contents were safe.

That was the best way for me to enter the new year—totally dependent on God. I also realized that I need to pay closer attention to God’s “still small voice.” I could have spared myself so much worry and stress if I had paid attention. That’s not the way I want to spend the next 364 days!

  1. Psalm 46:10