EDIT: God did a miracle! Katya got a text last night that her passport was ready and that we could pick it up this morning. God is good! We’re going! Praise the Lord!
We just had a disappointing situation with a retreat that we were supposed to fly to tomorrow morning (January 5th, 2018) in Croatia.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
1 Samuel 30:6
This retreat was a big part of my vision for 2018, but God took it away. I’m choosing to encourage myself in God. Let’s talk about what that looks like.
We bought the tickets, applied for visas, and applied for a new passport for Katya with expedited service back in November. The visas didn’t work out, though, because we found out that Katya would actually need to apply for two different visa’s, one for Poland, which is part of the Schengen Area, and one for Croatia, which is not. (The Schengen Area is a bunch of countries with the same visa agreement in the E.U.)
We thought everything would be fine, because we applied for her new biometric passport in time with expedited service, so we should’ve gotten it before “Catholic Christmas” (December 25th… The “normal” Christmas here in Ukraine is January 7th.)
We waited, checked the status online continually, and never heard anything. We wrote an official complaint, and the officer Katya talked to said that it might be in this week. Well, we went to the office today (like I said, we were supposed to fly tomorrow morning), and they said that her passport wouldn’t be here until about a week and a half from now.
We’re pretty disappointed, but this would be much harder if we weren’t going through a season where God has repeatedly shown us that “His ways are higher than our ways” (Isaiah 55:8-9). I, in particular, love to control; I love to have a concrete plan for where we’re going and how we’ll get there with things I care about. God has been teaching me in these past few weeks that His plans are better than mine and that I should trust Him, even if my plans fail. That’s how I encourage myself in the Lord: I remind myself of His character and His gracious love for me in Christ.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
He really does have a plan! If that’s true, then it doesn’t matter that we don’t get to go to the retreat. It doesn’t matter that the tickets were non-refundable. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know what to do with the next two weeks, because I was supposed to be out of the country. God. has. a. plan. Period.
The verse above (1 Samuel 30:6) talks about how David encouraged himself in the Lord. It’s part of a really cool story where David tried to do something, was shut down, went home to a disaster, found strength in God, and was able to praise God at the end when God saved his whole family and his men. If you’re getting discouraged because some plans of yours failed, go and read 1 Sam 29-30.
P.S. – I’m not trying to sound spiritual with this blog post… I’m processing this through writing and reminding myself of these truths, hoping that others will be encouraged along the way.