Mandatory Holiday

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“What?” we gasped. “What do you mean the embassy will be closed?”

“Didn’t you know?” our fellow visa applicant replied. “There’s a holiday tomorrow and Monday, so the embassy will be closed till Tuesday.”

My heart dropped as I handed my precious passport and application papers over the counter. Well, what’s done is done. ‘Sa-bi sa-bi,’ as we say in Thailand, I consoled myself while silently passing our predicament to Jesus. For my fellow student missionary Anna and I, this was our last chance to renew our visas before they expired, so there was really no turning back.

“You mean we’re stuck here till Tuesday?” the frantic unbelief in Anna’s voice made me smile as I remembered my initial astonishment. I put my hand on the shoulder of my poor, exhausted travelling buddy. “Anna, it is going to be okay. We have friends here we can stay with, and they aren’t going to let us go hungry. It is going to be fun to stay here for five days!”

So Anna and I got to take an unplanned mandatory holiday as prescribed by the Thai embassy. If only we had known the blessings God had in store for us, we wouldn’t have felt so dejected. Over that extended weekend, Anna ended up getting sick and losing her voice, but our situation gave her a break from leading the church choir and teaching piano. I had articles and papers to write, and the restful vacation provided the time and inspiration I needed to get them done.

“Lord, You have examined me and know all about me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them. You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it. . . . If I rise with the sun in the east and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me. With your right hand you would hold me” (Ps. 139:1-4, 9-10).

God knows our every need, and He can even turn crises into surprise vacations.

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