Have you ever had your worst nightmares come true in exact order? Ever had a small nagging worry that you just brushed off and tried to quiet until you came to a point you couldn't ignore it any more? Ever had your best laid plans crumble and fall like well lined dominoes?
As many of you know, I’m “supposed” to be in India right now. But I’m not. So here’s the whole, long, messy story.
An American Citizen must obtain a Visa before entering India. No big deal. They purportedly hand out six months tourist visas like they just became legal. Just alot five to ten business days for processing. So the first of the month I filled out a veritable mountain of paper work. and shipped it off to a company outsourced by the India Consulate to handle this type of thing. I was planning on spending five months in New Delhi, and a Visa expires exactly six months from the day it’s granted. So I mailed mine in a little less than a month from my planned departure date. But here’s the kicker. They always tell you not to book any tickets or reservations until you have your visa in hand. But I (always overly self-confident and seeking to drive a bargain) was watching flights and waiting for a dip in prices. And when the opportunity came, I seized it. I booked a ticket with out a visa. Little rebel me. And I “saved” a pretty penny doing it.
Fast forward a few weeks, and the company was still “processing” my application. Now I’m getting a little antsy. I send an email, just to check on things and to still the doubt in the back of my mind. I didn't really think anything could stop me from going. After all I was supposed to go. I knew. I was sure that God wanted me to go to India and serve those little girls in a big city. That was my calling, and I never for a second doubted it. The closer it came to my departure date the more frantic I became. I prayed more for that Visa than I have probably prayed for anything in my life, I’m ashamed to say. I was worried sick. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I called the company. Spent hours upon hours on hold with them every day for more than a week, never to speak to an actual person. They never even responded to any of my emails.
All this time I have been checking the tracking number on my return package. Then a couple days before my flight leaves I see it! They’ve shipped it. Finally. So this was a little scary, the package was supposed to arrive the morning before I leave. But I trusted God to take care of that. It would be my miracle. Crazy, stressful, and incredibly nerve-wracking. But He could do it. And it’d sure make a good story.
Thursday morning my dad’s buddy who’s a postman (hurray for small town connections) called dad and said the package dad asked him to look out for had come in. It was my miracle. God delivered it on time. So dad and I drive down to the post office. I’m so excited. I’m going to India. The reality starts sinking in now. In a few hours I’ll be on a flight from Little Rock to Chicago to London (!) to New Delhi. I’m going on an adventure.
Except I’m not. Not today. When I opened the envelope I didn't bother reading any of the papers at the bottom. I went straight for my Passport to find the Visa Stamped on the back page. And it wasn’t there. I dumped all the paper work out on the Post Office counter. It was still all there. My application, and all my paper work. I found it. A little slip of paper “explaining” the situation. The company curtly informed me that their contract with the Embassy had expired as of two days ago and that I should reapply with whichever new company the Embassy chooses next.
And that was it. One piece of paper. a few sentences on an official letter head, and no five month trip taking care of children in New Delhi. I gathered up all the papers and climbed into my dad’s truck. Numb. in shock. Ashamed. I couldn't even make eye contact with my own father because I was embarrassed. I should have sent in the application sooner. I shouldn't have booked the ticket until I was sure. I blamed myself. I blamed God. Why did it happen like this? Why would He line everything up perfectly for this trip. Give me so much assurance that it was His Will, only to pull the rug out from under me at the last minute? I didn't understand any of it. Except that I was so disappointed it physically hurt.
I called Embassies, Airlines, Government officials, and Missionaries. I couldn’t let it go. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to go. I knew it. Why would God close a door He spent months leading me to?
Here’s the thing about God’s Will. It’s God’s. Not ours. His ways are not our way and His thoughts are not our thoughts. God is sovereign. He’s in control. He knows what will happen and why. And He works it all out for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. Do you know what that means?
Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that could happen to me.
Whether I wanted it or not, whether I planned it or not, whether it’s hard or not. Its what’s best. It’s His plan. And I praise Him. I praise Him with a visa or without one. on a Mission trip to an exotic country or in my bedroom typing out a blog post. A.W Tozer said “Outside the Will of God there is nothing I want. Inside the Will of God there is nothing I fear.” Yes, I am disappointed. Of course I am. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m also confused. and sad. I’m heartbroken. But I know that there was a reason I wasn’t supposed to board that particular plan on that particular day. Maybe I’ll never know what that reason was. But I don't have to. Faith is being certain of things unseen. I am certain that this too is from Him. And no matter how hard it gets, He is still good.
So now what? What do you do when a door gets slammed in your face just as you were about to walk through it? Well I go back to square one. I prayed for God to direct my paths before India, and I prayed for Him to direct my paths as a plane was taking off for India without me on it. I’m back at square one. A few days after all of this happened I was on the phone with a Missions coordinator choking back tears. I asked Him whether or not i should still try to go to India. I dint know. I knew I still wanted to. I asked Him how to tell the difference between God saying “No” and God saying “Not yet.” He asked me a few questions about the situation and one of them was
“Do the Missionaries there still want you, Abigail.”
“Will they still need you by the time you can plan and execute a second trip.”
“Were you sure it was right before you planned to go.”
“Are you sure you want to go for the right reasons? To serve, and work, and not just to have an adventure?”
He told me no one could make this decision for me. That it was between me and God. we prayed again, said goodbye, and he hung up the phone.
And Peace washed over me. I knew. I knew I was still supposed to go.
When I told mom that I believed I was still supposed to go she said “Well we’ll just have to pray that if God wants you to go He will give you a way to, financially.”
that night I was praying for God to move this mountain of the cost of a plane ticket (which had doubled in price since I bought the first one.)
So I asked God to move a mountain. And he handed me a shovel.
God’s plan is what’s best. Not what’s easiest. So for the next month I am going to be working to earn the money necessary.
I am going to need God’s Grace, and you help. If you would like to support me in this, there is several ways you can do so. I will be having a garage sale this weekend, I’d love for you to come out and see if there’s anything you’d like to purchase. It’s Thursday through saturday next to my dad’s office on Abbey Road in Walnut Ridge. I will also be offering swimming lessons and horse riding lessons. Please contact me if there is anyway I can serve you!
In short. Plans change. People fall. Life is hard. God is still good.