In God’s Hands

The wait ended with a late Friday night email from our attorney which shouted that dreaded word denied into our wind-down from the week. Not a man for excess words, the concise missive brought our plans to an abrupt and gutting halt. Our visa application had been rejected.

At this stage, we didn’t know why and were promised more information after the weekend. More agonising waiting to see if there was any hope of an appeal or a different route to realise our plans.

And while waiting, feeling overwhelmed.

A deep pit of the stomach feeling of disappointment. A desperate sense of confusion as we looked back and felt again that everything had been slotting into place – surely God thought this was a good idea? An unsettling confusion as we wondered if we’d misread the situation and ploughed on ahead under our own steam. A building panic as we realised that the house sale was going through before we’d have any resolution and suddenly us and our stuff had no means of crossing the Atlantic. A complete exhaustion as the waiting and angsting and emotion of having thought we were leaving caught up with us.

And two little boys who had no idea of the seismic shifts in plans, and still needed normality, energy, and patience amidst the juggling of headspaces and practical tasks.

While the drama, and accompanying emotions, rushed in and out of our week, we were learning to trust our good God more and more. The lesson that had begun before we knew that word ‘denied’ continued.

Can we trust God when our plans seem to have come crashing down? Can we trust Him that He has the best for us – that it’s better to be in this situation than to have everything go swimmingly? Can we trust Him when we’re at a loss as to where we’re going to live and how business and life and practicalities are going to work out?

I think we’ve learnt to pray. John Calvin said that prayer was ‘the chief exercise of faith’ and I think we’re learning to exercise our faith more and more as we pray into and through and for everything that’s going on.

I’ve been chewing over 1 John these last few days, and in ¬†chapter 2v6 he writes ‘whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked’ and in v5 that ‘whoever keeps His word in Him truly is the love of God perfected.’

Keeping His word means walking ‘in the same way in which he walked’. Being obedient to God means striving to be like Jesus. And Jesus perfectly trusted God – even with his life and death.

John holds out obedience as an assurance to his reader. As we ‘keep His word’ and trust Him, we can be sure that we ‘abide’ in Him.

Obedient trust of our loving, sovereign God has been a challenge for us but also an encouragement. As we trust, so we can be even more sure that we abide in Him. And knowing we abide him, we know we are in loving fellowship with the awesome creator of the whole universe.

Along with faith-exercising and sometimes obedient trusting, we’ve been amazed and overwhelmed by the love and support of friends and family. Literally blown away. And thankful for the opportunity visa disasters have presented to see it and know it and be amazed by it.

Monday came, and the verdict became more concrete as reasons were given. But also plans b, c, d etc begun to be formulated and we think we might catch our flight to the Home of the Brave. Not quite as we planned. But trusting God more than if our plans had gone ahead without a hitch.


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