Ruskie Reconnaissance

by Joanie Butman

My husband and I spent last week in Vienna with our daughter who is studying abroad. We woke one morning to a sea of secret service agents on our floor and in the lobby. This development is just the sort of intrigue that my husband finds more fascinating than any palace, historical site or Christmas market we’d been dragging him to all week, and certainly more entertaining than the cheesy Sound of Music tour I tried to coax him into.

Determined to discover the identity of our famous resident, Bob proceeded to do his best Richard Castle impression, dreaming up scenarios of Russian spies and conspiracies. He entertained us by talking into his watch and lapel, mimicking characters from his favorite show, Homeland, or maybe Get Smart would be a better analogy.He conducted his own stakeout in the lobby, and there was no getting him to leave the hotel until the VIP emerged from his room surrounded by armed guards.

In the elevator on my way to meet Bob at his strategic surveillance perch, I questioned the bellman regarding the identity of the distinguished visitor. “He must be someone pretty important,” I commented. His response surprised me. “You’re just as important. We’re all important. We all matter.” Not the answer I was looking for as I was hoping to solve Bob’s mystery, but no truer words were ever spoken. You don’t need an entourage of secret service agents to determine your worth. We all have something to offer, and that bellman just presented me with a Biblical truth many of us tend to forget.

Sitting in the lobby a few minutes later watching the Russian Foreign Minister being ushered out, I considered the type of escort I travel with – aside from my family. It’s definitely not of the secret service type as you might have figured out because my life is an open book. Even so, we all have our own form of groupies that either attract people to us or not.

For example, during my travels around the city, I kept finding myself in front of a large piece of graffiti. It became a marker of sorts. It read, “I can already smell your unhappiness.” This statement illustrates the power of choosing the kind of aura with which you want to travel through life. What’s yours? Is it past hurts or regrets, anxiety, fear, distrust? Or is it more like the fruits of the spirit – “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control?” Sadly, I have to admit mine isn’t the latter nearly as much as I’d like. Some days it’s easier than others, but too often I find myself polluting the air with my own foul-smelling luggage.

It’s an ongoing effort to consciously choose the attitudes I want to exude. If I wasn’t confident of the fact that because I was created in God’s image and likeness I reflect His glory, I’d be tempted to (and often do) get discouraged by my own failures. But gratefully it’s not about me or what I’ve done. It’s ALL about what He’s done for me. Because He is my constant travel companion, I can choose to let Him do the heavy lifting by surrendering any unnecessary and burdensome baggage to His care.

My devotional the next day mirrored that bellman’s message and was an excellent reminder of the type of entourage we all have the privilege of travelling with. It reads:

“You have a vital role to play in the unfolding of God’s plan. You are not an accident or a random occurrence. Your witness, your words, your intercession, your service – it all makes a huge difference in this world. Even if you can’t see how, you matter! So don’t let troubles or difficulties keep you down. You’re too important, too beloved, and too dignified to let them get the upper hand. Instead, stand up straight and look to your Father, and see what He is doing today.”*

When you choose to travel with a divine escort, you radiate Their presence into a broken world. In doing so, we all become ambassadors for Christ. Finally, in regard to protection, you couldn’t get a better security detail assigned to you. 






*The Word Among Us