Although it is encouraging to see local leadership developing in Nepal, in many areas of society there are still roles in which foreigners can bring and share expertise. However, this has become difficult over the last two years with increased scrutiny leading to visa delays for many medical and development professionals. After nearly one year of waiting in Australia, G and R* returned to Nepal in May 2017. Although the visa process remains slow and unresolved, R shares here about what God has been teaching them though the ongoing uncertainty.
I was not aware how deeply I had absorbed our ‘instant’ culture mindset until God blessed me with an extended time of uncertainty and waiting.
We had prayed for over six months for the renewal of our visas, believing that God would answer in the affirmative (and probably at the last minute, thereby deepening our trust and faith in him). So I was surprised that we actually needed to return to Australia for an expected few weeks’ temporary departure in May 2016.
The ongoing delays continued to unfold month by month, until our ‘temporary’ dislocation turned into nearly a year. We were very conscious of God’s hand throughout this time with some surprising and unexpected blessings – but the visas remained elusive, despite the fervent prayers of ourselves and saints in Nepal and around the world.
Seeking deeper biblical truths about waiting and unanswered prayers produced no simple answers, but I gained a deeper understanding of how waiting is frequently part of God’s plan and his sovereignty. On reflection, I realised that in the Bible waiting is the norm – consider Abraham & Sarai, childless for many years; the Israelites in the desert and in exile; Simeon, waiting to lay eyes on the promised Messiah – and these are only a few of the myriad of examples. God, himself, is waiting so that more will turn to him and believe.
In the waiting, God fulfils his purposes (not ours), he provides us with opportunities to grow in sanctification and to walk closely with him through all circumstances, learning more about humility and patience.
Now we are back in Nepal, we recognize that the ‘waiting’ of the past year has been good preparation for our current ‘waiting’, with ongoing uncertainties (and visa issues still). Christ calls us to be his people, reflecting his character and light, which is often harder than doing things for him. The ongoing challenge is continuing to grow more Christ-like in thought, word and action, so he is more honoured in this context.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
Please continue to pray that God would re-open doors for several CMS workers wanting to serve the people of Nepal. Pray also that these workers will trust in God and grow in their faith through the uncertainty regarding visas and their work in Nepal.
*Names removed for security reasons.