April 11 came and went. Our grace period was over. If we didn’t vacate the country by the next day, my husband and I would be illegal residents of Canada. Not wanting to overextend our welcome, we packed a few essentials and drove across the border into the state of Washington. There, we would wait for his work visa. “It will be two weeks tops,” we assured ourselves.
Days, then weeks ticked by with no word. Our optimism deflated along with our rainy-day fund. After two months in limbo, we faced a decision: wait it out or move on. In the process, we each encountered our own demons.
I’ve never favored spontaneity. When it comes to making major decisions, I research. I arm myself with lists of pros and cons. Flexibility must be served with a selection of practical options. As the plans that had seemed definite eroded alongside my sense of control, worry became my constant companion. Rather than find comfort in Jesus’ words from Matthew 6:25–27, I felt chastised: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink. … Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet our heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” “That’s great and all,” I thought. “But what does God’s provision actually look like?”
It can sometimes be difficult to see prayer and trust in God as viable solutions.
Meanwhile, my husband had to grapple with his own questions. After all, it was his job on the line, his career in peril. His confidence in God’s plan was giving way to uncertainty. “What if I’m misinterpreting God’s direction? Does creating a backup plan and exploring options mean my faith is faltering? How long is long enough?”
Our individual anxieties isolated us and set us on separate paths on this journey we were stuck on—his one of waiting, mine one of worrying. When my life was comfortable and my future secure, seeking God’s guidance seemed like a last resort. Even His Word felt like a backup plan. Now, with all that security gone, it was difficult for me to grasp that we were relying on such abstract ideas for answers.
As each day passed, our waiting on God’s guidance dragged us closer to complete dependence on His provision. What had once felt like well-intentioned advice became a concrete directive: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16–18).
The words of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 also came to us as a stern reprimand: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” God’s Word doesn’t allow for struggling in isolation; He calls us to rely on each other and, most important, to depend on Him.
Taking these words to heart became our balm in this ordeal. When despair threatened to overwhelm, we tackled it with words of encouragement; in the process, we gained opportunities to uncover insecurities and affirm each other’s strengths. As we wrestled with the tough questions, we caught glimpses of each other’s doubts and convictions. Together, we accepted the reality of walking in God’s will and relying on Him to provide. To our delight, God met us in our surrender, surpassing our expectations with provision through friends and strangers who also took these words seriously, lending resources and support to a couple of humbled refugees.
Trusting in the unseen can be a lesson in humility. Waiting patiently for the Lord can seem like inaction. But we can trust in our God, who “inclined to me and heard my cry … and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (Psa 40:1–2). May you thrive in the security of God’s guidance and provision.
Biblical references are from the English Standard Version (ESV).