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Cherishing Challenges

Just imagine having to pay $1,000 in fines when you are working on a tight budget. I learnt that I had to pay that much, and even more the longer I delayed.

Let me give the background for context's sake. When I was yet in the United States, I expected to have had come here at the beginning of the month of September. This was around the same time when I also applied and got my visa which was valid for 3 months. However, the times in which we live have made unforeseen circumstances to be more probable. Thus, my arrival here in this land of all lands, the motherland as some would prefer, was not until 3 weeks after I received my visa.

When I arrived in Benin, I was thinking of renewing my visa before it would expire in 3 months, but I got the dates mixed up. Typically, the date of expiration is calculated from the time one's visa is issued, and not upon arrival. In my case, this was 3 weeks after the issuance, and not as I had subconsciously thought.

When the 3 months drew to a close, we traveled down to the city of Cotonou; a metropolis, at least from this country's reference point. "We" being me, a fellow career missionary and another student missionary who came 2 weeks after me, but had also gotten his visa around the same time as mine. After we had arrived at the metro, we went to the immigration center the very next day. This is the place where we got the untoward news that we were in the deep end of the sea of trouble and the winds were against us, intensifying with time.

In simple jargon, we were told that we had to pay approximately $50 for each day after the expiration which was, of course, a full 3 weeks. That would add to approximately $1,000. We needed to pay that amount quickly because each day that passed would cost us $50. Add to that the costs of living in a guesthouse and food which cost as much as in the US, if not more. Nonetheless, friends, I can tell you that nothing gets God by surprise.

Take note, this pressure of time, which is not exactly my strength, brought a lot of temptation. Temptation to panic and worry was teeming, and should I fall into it that would really show how much faith one has on our heavenly Father, the King of Kings. That would have hurt Him. Yet it pleased Him to give me strength during this hour of temptation rather than remove the trial. I had no flicker of trust when I, by His grace, had my eyes on Him.

To cut to the chase, God gave us the experience similar to that of Daniel and his three friends which is found in Daniel 1:9; "Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs." After a week, we finally sent our application putting our trust, as little as it was, in God. We received our visas the self-same day of application and we did not have to wait up to 3 days with further living costs, as was the expectation.

All in all, God has been strengthening my faith as I experience life in His service so that at the end of the day my life may be to glorify Him. There is no value in men other than that which God has put in men: the life of His Son. There is no doubt, therefore, that if God delights to use us to reach others, no grandeur fine nor hindrance is too big for Him because He loves His Son. Jesus paid by His own life the greatest fine we ever can incur by transgression.

What is stopping you from following God's call? Or what challenges do you face in God's call? Cherish those challenges only as they will give you a broader yet detailed view of the character of our Great God.

One thought on “Cherishing Challenges

  1. That is certainly a learning to fully trust in God experience. Not removing the test until God’s purpose is realized can be very difficult, but that is the challenge. The purifying only takes place in the furnace and the time is a crucial factor. Lord help me to wait on you so you can accomplish your purpose in my life despite the test.Appreciate your sharing. Be strong in the Lord my brother.

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