By Ma Na, United States
In the summer vacation of 2017, tortured by the boring life on campus and the longing for my relatives and friends back in my hometown, I booked a ticket to China without consulting with my parents. As the day of departure was approaching, I was filled with anticipation and excitement in my heart, while somehow I felt a little uneasy—maybe it was because I hadn’t sought the Lord’s will on this issue. Before the trip, my mother told me, “Remember to rely on the Lord along the way. When you encounter difficulties, pray to the Lord, and He will help you.” Hearing these words, I just nodded my head perfunctorily but actually didn’t take them to heart, because all I thought about was hopping on the plane and flying to China as soon as possible. At that time, I was bubbling with excitement and had absolutely no idea what was awaiting me ahead …
That day when I got to the airport in San Francisco, I found that I had confused the international departure time with the domestic departure time, which caused me to arrive at the airport much later than I was supposed to. As there wasn’t much time before the plane took off, I quickly found a self-service ticket machine and took out my identity card to print the ticket. But every time I almost succeeded, the system would indicate an error. At that time, I was burning with anxiety and thought: “What should I do? My flight is gonna board soon, yet I haven’t got my ticket. Will my summer trip be ruined before it even starts?” Unwilling to waste time waiting, I walked to the airline counter with a nervous heart, hoping to get my ticket there.
When I was waiting in line, my mother’s exhortation suddenly occurred to me—“When you encounter difficulties, pray to the Lord.” Then I came before the Lord and prayed to Him, “Dear Lord, I am very anxious now. My flight is going to board soon, but I haven’t got my ticket. O Lord, I’m willing to rely on You. Please help me.” To my surprise, not long after the prayer, I successfully obtained my ticket. Holding the ticket in hand, I was brimming with joy, and began to plan where I could go to have fun after I landed in Shanghai. At that time, I put the Lord, who had helped me in secret, to the back of my mind, and didn’t even thank Him.
The Lord, however, didn’t see my rebellion, but still protected and cared for me behind the scenes. Because what I bought was a cheap ticket, I needed to make a connection in Vancouver. As I was making my connection at the airport, I unexpectedly got intercepted there for lacking requisite travel documents. The airport staff asked me to wait in a place, during which time I pretended to be calm on the outside while my heart was in great turmoil. I thought to myself: “Will I be detained here or deported? Now I’m all by myself. Whom can I rely on?” Just when I was feeling confused and helpless, I again thought of the Lord. And then I came before Him and prayed, “O Lord, I am at a complete loss now. Please help me.” Not long after, a wonderful thing happened: The airport staff took me to a place where a police officer asked me some questions. After that, he stamped my passport and signed his name on it, and then said to me, “OK, you’re free to go.” All this happened so quickly that before I could figure out what was going on I just cleared customs. Sitting in my seat on the plane, I recalled what had happened along the way, and only then did I realize that it was the Lord who helped me go through customs. While giving thanks to the Lord, I also gained an insight into His great power. The deeds of the Lord are so wondrous and unfathomable, and with Him, all things that humans cannot achieve are possible, just as the Lord Jesus said, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
Soon the two-month summer vacation was over, and I made the trip back to the United States. When I made my connection in Canada, the airport staff told me that I didn’t have the eTA visa and thus couldn’t get the ticket. Hearing this, I got flustered and asked, “So, how can I get the visa?” “You can apply for it on Canada immigration official website,” answered she. “How soon can I get it?” I continued asking. “Well, it’s hard to say. Maybe a few hours, or maybe several days.” “Why did nobody tell me about this when I booked the ticket?” “I’m afraid I can’t answer your question, sir. I’m just doing my job. If you don’t have the visa, then I’m not allowed to give you the ticket. Please try to understand.” As my flight was going to board soon, I immediately made an application on the internet. While waiting for the approval, I was burning with anxiety, not knowing whether I could get the visa in time. Then I prayed to the Lord, “Dear Lord, now I’ve done what I can do. I wish to leave the rest to You and obey Your arrangements. Please help me.” After prayer, I was no longer that agitated and willing to entrust all this to the Lord. I believed He would help and guide me.
To my surprise, less than 20 minutes later I was informed that my application was granted. At that moment, I was overwhelmed with joy and couldn’t help praising the omnipotence of the Lord. Normally, it is impossible for anyone to get a visa in such a short time, but I just got it. The Lord is so wonderful. Because my flight to Vancouver was late, and moreover, the low efficiency of the airport wasted a lot of my time when I went through customs, I thought I would miss my flight to the United States. However, thanks to the Lord’s protection, I got on the plane 10 minutes before it took off. I was really grateful to the Lord!
During my trip to China and back, I encountered several unexpected troubles. If it hadn’t been for the Lord’s marvelous protection, I could have missed my flight for this or that reason, or even been detained in a foreign country. Though I had rebelled against the Lord and didn’t have real faith in Him, He still helped me through difficulties when I called out to Him, which allowed me to truly appreciate His love for me. Through my own experiences, I’ve also witnessed the Lord’s wondrous deeds and gained more faith in Him. In the future I may encounter many more difficulties, but I believe as long as I pray to and rely on the Lord, He will guide me through all of them, just like the Bible says, “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).