3 Miracles. 1 Message. [PART 1 – In which we stay at the Hilton for free]

So, it was December 2018 and we were in Canada.

What didn’t start out as a look-and-see trip had kinda-sorta turned into that thing.

We’d looked. We’d seen. We’d met, by God(co)incidence, a random-not-random bus driver (on his bus, on the outskirts of Toronto) who happened to be part of a church that was a second-cousin once-removed of our church (in Pretoria) (in a cool, Kingdom kind of way – not a weird incestuous kind of way) and their lead elder (who is connected to a church in Edmonton, planted by our church in Pretoria) was mentored by our lead elder (in Durban) and the God who runs bus timetables on every continent was saying,

I Am Very Big. The World Is Very Small. I Can Do Anything – Even Put You On This Bus. I Can Put Anyone, Anywhere.

We’d then spent Christmas with friends in Sault Ste. Marie, and we were flying back to Toronto for three nights before heading home to South Africa.

Our flight from the Sault was delayed.

We arrived in Toronto early evening. It was cold and dark and snowing again. I got onto the airport WiFi to get the address of the Airbnb apartment we’d booked. We were going to Uber there (because it was cold and dark and snowing again).

Except, there was an email from our Airbnb host.

Oh dear, he said, the previous guests stole the keys so it’s not safe. You’re welcome to stay – but not really. 

We’d already paid for the accommodation in full. Thing is, if we’d cancelled on this guy, he would still have got a cut of his dosh. He was hoping we’d cancel. We didn’t cancel. We just sent his trail of false promises to Airbnb.

Then Murray and I trawled websites for cheap beds, casting furtive glances at the airport chairs, sadistically designed to give you scoliosis but better than sleeping in the snow.


A small sub-miracle happened at this point:

Cam said, ‘Guys, is there anything I can do to help?’

And we were like, Success! This trip has been a success!

Because part of our determination to travel with our boys was to teach them how to travel. To teach them to roll with it when plans derail, and re-frame it as adventure. At the beginning of the trip, this boy was not flying by the seat of his pants. And here he was now, happy to help, and not freaked out by the thought of sleeping on the chairs.

To cut a long story short, the cheapest room available was at the Toronto Hilton.

Even though it was a last-minute half-price deal, it was still exactly double what we’d (already) paid Airbnb. I got that weird this-is-so-not-in-the-budget nausea. We looked at the airport chairs. Then at our phones. Then at our kids. Then at our phones. Then we clicked Book Now.

An hour later we were in the plush comforts of a room at the Hilton. We watched ice hockey – Winnipeg Jets versus Toronto Maple Leafs (it really is Leafs, not Leaves) – and ate bread and cheese from the 7-Eleven two blocks down.


We told our boys to enjoy the luxury because this was probably never happening again in any of our lifetimes. We rode the escalators past the enormous Christmas tree in the lobby. We rode the glass lift with a view over the city. We swam in the heated outdoor pool and there was snow on the ground all around it and we totally used all the free stuff in the bathroom.

This is where the miracle comes in:

Airbnb messaged to say they’d refunded us in full – and that we should send them our invoice from the Hilton.

And they paid the difference.

So we stayed at the Hilton for three nights. For free.

And I heard again as wind whipped through icy streets the whispered assurances of the God who already paid the difference on the cross –

You Needn’t Worry About A Thing.

Because we’re all so worried about our lives – what we’ll eat and drink and wear – and where we’ll live. And God is saying,

I’ve Got This.  

Sometimes we have to sleep on the airport chairs. Sometimes we might even have to sleep in the snow. Even that, He’ll cause for our good. And sometimes He puts us up in the Hilton because He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Peter writes, Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

David writes, Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

We didn’t come home from looking-and-seeing with any answers. And maybe you don’t have answers either. But maybe –

God is reminding us every day that He commands our destiny.

He’s reminding us every day that we can cast our burdens because He cares for us, and because He will take care of us.

For today, let that be enough.

. . .

Have an awesome weekend, friend! Next week, Part 2!

Please share this post with someone who needs to know that God’s got this thing.

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