Waiting on God’s Help

For several months, Matt and I have been planning an amazing family vacation, and this week it almost came undone. Our three week trip to Nicaragua is a culmination of years of dreaming, months of saving money, countless hours spent reading hostel/hotel reviews and travel blogs and drafting itineraries, then going back to square one and repeating the whole process. We chose this Central American country because Matt has been there before on mission trips and loved it – he has always said how much he wants me to travel there and experience the culture and see some of the amazing scenery Nicaragua has to offer. We also sponsor a child who lives in Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua, and we felt that having the opportunity to meet her in person was one we couldn’t pass up.

This may be a once in a lifetime trip, although I hope it isn’t! In the short-term, however, we do have a very special window to both take three weeks off work, for Torre to fly nearly free of charge, and to have pulled together enough money to make the trip happen. I joked with Matt that even though Nicaragua doesn’t really have any resorts, we can tell people we’re taking an “all expenses paid” vacation – it’s just that we’re paying all the expenses as we go 🙂

My passport has a few years left on it, but Matt had to renew his passport for this trip, which he did without any hiccups. Then Tuesday afternoon we found out Torre needs a passport to travel. Now, everyone who I told this to more or less responded with, “Well, yeah.” But we just didn’t realize. Honestly, I had no questions about showing up at the airport with our tickets and our child and his birth certificate and getting on a plane, but that’s not how they do it any more. Doh.

Government offices were closed for Remembrance Day, so there was nothing we could do but panic, text a handful of people to ask them to pray, and come up with a plan to get Torre a passport ASAP. Wednesday morning Matt had Torre’s passport photos taken, dropped him at daycare, and went to the passport office where he waited in a handful of lines, saw some people be escorted away after they got disgruntled and rowdy over the waiting in multiple lines process, and finally submitted a rush application for our child’s passport. Now, it’s very possible to have a passport done up in 2 days, but for children’s passports they require a long-form birth certificate as identification because it names the child’s parents.  When I registered Torre’s birth, it was more money for the long-form, and I didn’t feel like shelling out cash for a document we’d just file away when the short-form birth certificate looked like my own, and I had never needed anything more.

The woman at the counter was skeptical of Matt’s story that we never received a long-form birth certificate:

“Sir, every child who is born in Ontario gets a long-form birth certificate – it’s part of the hospital fees you pay for all the documents you get when your baby is born.”

Doh.

Next time I’ll know.

There is a five day processing time to order a long-form birth certificate, but Matt was not deterred. Thursday he put in more time at the passport office and went downtown in person to stats Canada to plead his case. Nobody seemed very optimistic about speeding up bureaucracy, especially since the whole process was developed with the aim of deterring human trafficking. Nobody wants to circumvent those rules, even for an undisputed parent with no custody issues and with plane tickets booked over a month ago.

Tuesday night when I first prayed about Torre’s passport, I opened my Bible to Isaiah and my eyes fell on 43:16 – Thus says the Lord who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters. I felt very nice about that, but I wasn’t comfortable to take it as a promise of success because the chapter as a whole is about way bigger stuff than family vacations and modern bureaucracy. Bible school taught me to look at context and to resist the urge to cherry-pick pleasant verses for my own purposes.

So I kept praying and hoping and trying to trust that I could trust God with whatever outcome we had, even a delayed trip and all the costs of changing tickets, even, catastrophically, forfeiting a lot of deposits and abandoning our dream trip if God really did close this door.

Today on my lunch break I sat with 2 Peter 3:14 – Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

Now, the context of this verse is a church that is impatient for Christ’s return. But Peter’s perspective-setting was helpful for my own anxiety: remember the prophets, all that they went through and all they waited for; God’s timing is perfect even when we think he’s taking too long; and earthly problems will one day be rolled up like carpets and not be any trouble at all.

So I wrote about this verse (and this is what I really wanted to share in this post) –

This is not an exhortation to self-help; this is a call to radical submission, to confession and surrender. As flaws, worries and challenges arise, Peter instructs the church to actively ground ourselves in God’s love, his mercy, his sufficiency. We do not bear any burdens he does not know about, so we can confidently cast our cares on him and live in the freedom and peace of the knowledge that He is in control.

I came home to find a brown envelope that held a lime green passport wallet featuring my most adorable son. Matt made two visits to the passport office today, and on the second trip when the managing officer handed Torre’s passport over, the words that came out of her mouth were, “God is on your side.” She hadn’t ever seen a passport released before the physical long-form birth certificate was produced.

SO we are praising God for his faithfulness (which would stand even if we hadn’t got our first choice outcome) and looking even more forward to our trip. And I am filing this episode away in my heart for the next time our path looks very uncertain.

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Comments

Susan 15-11-2014, 02:50

What a journey before your planned journey even began! What a God we have!

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Melissa 16-11-2014, 13:47

God is good indeed. He rewarded your faithfulness. Have a wonderful trip.

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