The authorities stamped ‘expelled’ on her passport. But a worker in Asia still clung to God’s promises.
‘This sickness will not end in death…’ During a time of harassment by the authorities, these were comforting words until I checked what happened next – Lazarus died! (John 11:4). I was shocked! Even so, I was not prepared for the ‘death’ – ‘expelled’ stamped in my passport, and a police escort onto the plane. But the ‘resurrection’ followed too, and in less than three months I was back (with a new passport of course).
‘This sickness will not end in death…’ My second ‘expelled’ stamp came three years later. This time it was on the page facing the photo where it couldn’t be missed! Or could it? In the four months that followed, I made five internal flights, having my passport checked at least once each trip. Like Brother Andrew, I prayed, ‘Lord, you once made blind eyes to see, now please make seeing eyes blind’, and not once did they notice it.
‘All things are possible’ we sang on my first Sunday of internal exile, three days after getting that second stamp. My one remaining chance was an appeal to the Prosecutor General. I waited. Although the chance was slim, I stood firm in faith and prayer. But the unthinkable happened – the appeal was rejected. What happens to faith then? I have to admit I nearly bought an air ticket home.
Then I remembered another resurrection (Mark 5:21-33). Jairus must have been full of hope when Jesus agreed to visit his sick daughter. But while the woman who suffered from bleeding waylaid Jesus, the girl died. Yet Jesus raised her up! What about Abraham who kept on believing when there was no hope left? No hope – that’s certainly how it looked. Thank God for some good friends who fanned my dying faith into flame. ‘It can’t be how it seems. Remember what God has said,’ one encouraged. Urged on by another friend, I said to God ‘I’m finished. I’ve no options left. I’m asking you to help – no-one else can.’ Having admitted that the final decision was with God, I waited in faith.
So, illogical as it was, I kept believing. We prayed and fasted, and the impossible began to happen – an audience with the Prosecutor General, a new investigation, and victory in the High Court. I was left amazed, grateful, humbled. But it’s sobering to think how different things would have been if I’d stopped believing too soon.
Maureen (pseudonym) is a Brit who has been based in Central Asia for the last 15 years. She juggles the roles of leader, Church planter and business woman, and in what free time is left enjoys running…. except in the extreme heat or minus double figures when she finds the local swimming pool more inviting.