Me and Inigo Montoya Should Be Best Friends

This has been an odd semester.  One that keeps reminding me that my plans are not the ultimate answer.

I like making plans; they make me feel secure and balanced and knowledgeable.  I do not really enjoy when people ask me, "So, what will you be doing __________?" and I say, "Uh....I don't know yet."  Generally I mumble for a moment about potential ideas that I have.  And that's not bad, but I'm not a huge fan.

So there I was in China last semester, realizing that I would be graduating in May if all went according to schedule, and that meant I would need something to do after May.  Since presumably I could not just go into hibernation and vanish into thin air for a year until I was ready to think about grad school.

So I made a plan and I thought that it was a rather good plan; I'd apply to CCO.  Then I could work with college students and do ministry, and I already had connections with the ministry program, and I like spending time with those people.  Perfect, right?

I interviewed with them and they said, "Sorry, we don't want to hire you on as full-time staff, but we'd like you to consider an internship."  I said okay.  That wasn't what I wanted exactly, but that way I had a plan, right?

I got back to campus that afternoon and had mail from ELIC in my mailbox.  I had been missing China and so going back and teaching English sounded like a really good idea.  So I applied, waiting to hear back more about the CCO internship.  Doors kept opening to go back to China and I thought this was pretty cool, this is perfect.  I didn't hear anything else about the internship until things with ELIC were pretty close to all worked out, so when ELIC offered me a job, I said yes, of course.

China is not the easiest place in the world to get access into, and one of the pieces of paperwork needed is a blood lab report saying that you don't have HIV.  I have learned that this test can take what feels like an exceedingly long time to come back.

There are also these things called deadlines, which, trust me, sometimes seem to be half of what you are learning about in college.

Deadlines and things that are due sometimes collide in rather unseemly ways.

So right now I'm waiting to see if the HIV test results come back soon enough to mail to ELIC so that they can in turn send documents to China.

I am guessing that I could probably give Inigo Montoya a run for his money in a competition to see which of us hates waiting more.  It is just not fun.  My friend Tyler is in a similar boat right now, waiting to hear back from an interview.  We commiserate over the miseries of not knowing.  We're okay with the results one way or another, we say, but what kills us is the not knowing.

As a sidenote, it has been astonishing me how very okay I am with the results either way.  I do love China deeply, and, as I was talking to someone about yesterday when he asked to hear the story of how I ended up with ELIC, it really did seem perfect.  Like I had been perfectly set up by my life to do this, like all the doors just opened.  Until the HIV test, one of us said.

Yep, until that.  And I am content to think that if God is closing the door on what seemed perfect, that it's because he has something better in mind.  More on that sometime, perhaps, seeing where this goes.

I've had to think about a lot of the verses that I prefer to gloss over.  It really is incredible what the Holy Spirit brings to mind at crazy times.  Exodus 14 is my current favorite.  That's when Pharaoh is chasing the Israelites with the whole Egyptian army and they get stuck right up against the sea.  Understandably, they all start freaking out.  I think that anyone with a modicum of sense would, with certain death on either side.  Being a slave suddenly starts to sound, well, appealing.

Here's what the Israelites, stuck in this position, had to say:

Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.
(Exodus 14:11-12 ESV)

And here was Moses' response.  Which I love.

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
(Exodus 14:13-14 ESV)

I'd guess that you know the rest of the story; God tells the Israelites to go forward and he makes a path through the sea, opening it right before them and then closing it over their enemies.

When everything seems closed in, God makes a way to places that we couldn't even see.


  1. will there be a follow-up on "prepare to die"?

    sometimes life is all about stealth lessons.


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