"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."
- Psalms 119:114 NCV
My faith met a hurdle. A reasonably challenging hurdle.
For weeks, almost months now, I have been wrestling with my university, with the South African embassy and with my own issues in order to get my visa renewed and with the whole pandemic thing not quite making things easier, it was a feat.
So, I struggled for months to get all the documents, I went to the embassy on consecutive days, waking up super early because I can't quite drive and needed a ride from my mum, who happily gave me, and I would wait in line during those days because, apparently, many people have stuff to do at the embassy.
Anyways, I went there and I was constantly sent back because either a document was outdated or I needed the original ones to come and not the scanned ones.
Okay, that was a bit frustrating but, I shook it off and called the wonderful family I have back in South Africa to help me get the documents.
With the documents in my hand and everything in order, seeing that it was only one document that was causing issues, I went back and was told that another document was outdated.
Still, they let me issue my visa and everything got sorted out.
Or so I thought.
When I went to collect my visa, happy that I still had a little while longer to reregister for my second year, the visa was not out and I told my parents that, seeing that the deadline for the registration was closing in.
It turned out that they had issues with one of my paper - said that I hadn't delivered it when in fact I had and I showed them the document they said it was missing.
Okay, cool. Things seemed to have been going in a good direction after that.
Yeah, no. . .
I was roughly one week away from being able to reregister within the deadline and yet, another problem came by just when I was going to collect my visa.
The date on the document was all wrong. It dated back to 2020 and I didn't understand why.
I was furious, mad and was ready to just got to the embassy to cause chaos with a bunch of questions regarding their competency.
However, I finally took my father's advice, with tears on the brink of streaming down, and went back home to ask my university to deliver the updated document.
This was on Tuesday and I had to reregister by Friday, I believed, and knowing that I would probably have to wait for 48hrs to get the document, those tears came out and I felt crushed.
I was crying not only because the deadline was so close but because in my anger showdown, I had focused so much on the wrongdoings of others that I failed to get accurate information or ask good questions about what was going on.
In reality, I was also to blame for the whole outdated document thing.
Yes, the university wrote the wrong date and outdated were received at the embassy but, I also failed to read the date when I first got the documents and, therefore, failed to prevent the whole fiasco as well.
I felt bad.
I let anger cloud my judgement, I let my anger run free and probably ruin those people's images in the eyes of those who were near me when I was going at it and that hurt.
Everything felt wrong and I didn't understand why things were happening and as I was crying and then I was crying to God.
I was angry and sad, but I knew that I was missing something.
I was missing God.
I was focused on what didn't happen, on those involved in the act, in my feelings, in what all of this mess could mean to my academic year and my emotions that I failed to focus on God.
But then, in the midst of those tears, I talked to Him and I told Him that I didn't understand why things were happening like this but, that I trust Him. Though I don't understand, I trust that He is working for my good.
I also asked for forgiveness for I let my sin make me sin. I let my emotions get the best of me and cloud my judgement, and I failed to see my own fault in the fiasco I was blaming others for.
So, I did allow myself to cry because I felt like I needed that but God didn't allow me to lose hope, to focus on what didn't work but focus on Him.
So, I waited for those 48hrs to come to an end, had a nice and much-needed connect group meeting on Wednesday in which we talked about peace (super helpful), laughed in the waiting and talked to God and others about it.
When the waiting ceased to be, the university hadn't responded to my email and so, I had to call them and it wasn't quite a smooth experience.
I called them on Thursday and was told that I would get the document then which was okay because I could send it and then go on Friday, hopefully, and get my visa and then rush home to reregister on time.
Yet, things didn't work out like that. . . again!
Friday, I talked to them again and had a heated conversation about me being super late to reregister and that gave me the impression that I wasn't going to be able to reregister due to the massive delay.
Again, I felt heartbroken because I really wanted to start my second year this year. I still do.
So, though they said that they would send the email on Saturday, I felt bad because they also told me to contact the registration personnel as soon as possible and I did, afraid that I could miss my opportunity to reregister if I didn't.
After that, it probably came to mind that it was highly likely that I wasn't going to start my semester so soon, that I was probably too late.
Yet, even when hoping seemed a bit foolish, God didn't let me believe it was and I told Him that I didn't understand why things were happening like this but I trusted that they were for my upmost good.
God always works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and I remembered that so, even though the circumstances seemed against it, I kept on hoping and I still am.
Yes, I got the document on Saturday (Finally!) and now I need to wait and see if my visa will come out in the first week of March which is also the first week of academic lessons at my university.
Things don't look so good but, oddly enough, I don't feel hopeless and that is only because I have God.
I don't understand why things are going on like this but, I am trusting in the One who does, knowing that He does everything for the good of those who love Him.
That though I don't understand the why of my circumstances, I trust in God who does and has a plan far greater than what I can ever dream of.
So, this is my prayer for me and you:
Dear God, thank you for everything in my life and for all that you have done in it. Please help me build up my faith and never lose sight of you and hope, even when the circumstances beg the differ. Help me to stay strong when things look bad, to never lose hope and never stop believing in You. Please give me the strength and faith to endure whatever will come my way. In the precious name of Jesus Christ, Amen!