So when we “signed up” to live overseas, I certainly had expectations of what I would have to give up. I agreed to eat weird foods, wear different clothes, live in less than ideal conditions at times, sweat in the tropical heat, and get sick with weird diseases. What I didn’t expect was all of the waiting. I knew that life was lived at a different pace. I remember a teacher in training telling us to practice waiting by standing in the longest line at the supermarket. And boy that’s so true. After being in the US for 9 months, I’ve had to retrain myself to not get super irritated at the big stores when checkout takes as long a the shopping does. But those are minor “waits” in comparison to waiting for things like visas and actually getting into our final ministry location.
As I wrote this, we were in our old city waiting for visas. But the waiting actually started before that.
We’ve been waiting on builders to finish our house for months. We waited on word about our visas to be able to plan a work trip. After they left on the work trip, I waited for 5 days for Payton to return. The weather was bad and so we waited for 2 more days.
While in transit to go get new visas, we got a message saying our 5 yr visas couldn’t be processed. We had to wait to meet with the office manager here to get an idea of what was going on. The next day, we signed some papers and waited to hear about when we should go to immigration. When we went to immigration the next day, we waited some more, only to be told the new automated system was experiencing high traffic and was stuck, thus we’d have to wait some more. All plans were on hold because we have to be on stand-by until we are called in. But it’s not just waiting for fingerprints and photos, it’s the fact that a 5 year visa has now turned into a 1 year visa. And this means more waiting to move in to Taliabo.
I’m often content as long as there’s plenty to do. But it’s these times where waiting is a theme that I get very uncomfortable. I kind of hold my breath and begin to get antsy and irritable. And especially in this past week it feels as if so much has happened that is outside of our control. It feels as if things are happening to us. I feel as if we’re being tossed about in a stormy sea, clinging to our ship, waiting for the waters to calm down. Until then, we wait. The Psalmist waited a lot. I find it uncomfortable. We have a huge list of things to do and yet we can do nothing being far from our new home. It feels as if nothing is being accomplished at all, yet if I see things from a different perspective, I can feel my heart learning to rest and trust when all I’ve been asked to do is wait. I have to stop and tell myself that God is fully sovereign over weather, computers, governments, down to the smallest detail. If he wanted to move things along, nothing would stop Him. He’s the one who smooths the path—or at least shows us the way. And so we wait. We know He is in control of when we get in to Taliabo. It’s not just us who wants to see the Taliabo church built up and empowered, it’s really His work. And we can give him glory even in the waiting, even when my cultural bent says that God is most pleased by “doing”.
It’s funny how long it took for us to surrender to the timeline that was out of our control. Once we leaned into it instead of resisting, we really began to enjoy time with friends.
As we visited our old city, I was also reminded of how many other people were waiting for things, especially the victims of last year’s earthquake/tsunami. So many people are still waiting for closure, or life to return to normal– or maybe they’re waiting for homes to be rebuilt. It was heart-wrenching to see the devastation. I have so much to be thankful for.
Pray for us as we’re in this season of waiting. Pray that we are reminded that we’re waiting for good things! Maybe we shouldn’t even call it that? Maybe the label itself causes us to miss this season for all of the good it’s working in us. I tend to miss the goodness of God in the day to day when I focus on the “waiting” rather than just walking with Jesus every day.