Crisis averted during pandemic
In December 2019, I had a very clear directive from God to resign from my teaching job in Vienna at the end of March and return to Australia. I was reluctant to leave before the end of the school year but wanted to be obedient, so I gave my notice. I had been praying with a Christian Science practitioner about an illness and found I was completely healed shortly after taking this step.
Fast forward to the middle of March, when I had only two weeks of my teaching job remaining and had booked a flight back to Australia for April 1. Suddenly, the Austrian government announced that all schools would close because of COVID-19, and restrictions were put into place.
I had very little food in my refrigerator at that point, so I headed to the grocery store. However, when I tried to pay for the groceries, neither my debit card nor my credit card was accepted. The store manager couldn’t explain why my cards wouldn’t work, and he suggested I go to an ATM and get cash. But the banks were closed, and my card wouldn’t let me into the bank building, so I had no access to the teller machines inside. I had to leave the store without my groceries.
With little food, no access to my money, and no way of getting money because of the new restrictions, I was in a perplexing situation. But I knew from my study of Christian Science that we can trust God to take care of us at all times. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy assures us, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494).
So I turned to God with all my heart and listened for His unerring direction. The answer I got was “It’s not God’s will for you to be restricted.” I also had the thought that since I was being restricted in Vienna, perhaps I should leave earlier than I had planned.
When I got back to my apartment, I checked my email and found a message from the same practitioner who had worked with me in December. She knew nothing about my current situation, but said that with all that was happening in the world, it was so important to be obedient to God, because obedience, which maintains our sense of unity with God, is our life. I knew my first duty was to God.
I then saw a Facebook post that said the Australian Embassy was calling all Australians home immediately and that Austrian Airlines was going to suspend all flights out of Vienna beginning Wednesday. This was Monday.
I emailed my boss to ask if she would approve my leaving early. She agreed, as long as my senior students were on track with their work. I rang the travel agency but was unable to change my April flight, so I booked another flight online for the very next day. The same credit card that would not work at the supermarket now worked to pay for this flight.
Now I had two things to do at the same time—teach my students online and pack up everything in my apartment. With only 24 hours to do the packing, I thought it was impossible. But I said out loud, “OK, God, You’re here. Show me what to do.” And step by step, exactly what I needed to do for the students and my pending trip came to mind.
I was led to book a taxi to the airport and found that they took only cash. I prayed, and the thought came to ask a young man who was living in the same building for the cash and repay him via bank transfer. He agreed.
I packed all that day into the early hours of the morning, then most of the next day until the afternoon. With much gratitude, I got to the airport on time and boarded the plane. On the second leg of my flight, I sat next to a woman who told me that she had been in exactly the same situation. She, too, had heeded divine direction to leave on Tuesday with her family, and she also had to pack up her home in 24 hours. We talked nonstop about God and Christian healing during the flight, and I shared Christian Science with her.
The day after I arrived home, the Australian government announced that it was closing its borders and canceling all international flights, including the ones I had originally planned to take in April, leaving tens of thousands of Australians stranded overseas—a situation that had yet to be resolved as of the new year. I continue to pray that each one of God’s children can know that God is with them and is showing them what they need to do, just as He showed me.
This powerful experience taught me the great importance of obeying God no matter what. For quite a few years, I’ve been praying to be completely willing to let God govern me, and I am convinced that this desire made me receptive to the divine direction that helped me navigate this situation.
I am so deeply grateful to God, to Christ Jesus, to Mrs. Eddy, and to Christian Science practitioners, who are so unselfish, loyal, and loving.
Jodie Eva Cook
Bli Bli, Queensland, Australia