Before entering many countries, you must have a visa. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the port of entry and authorizes the immigration inspector to grant admission into the country. An accurate visa is a pretty big deal, right? Well, on a recent trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, guess who put the wrong entry date on their electronic visa? You guessed it, ME! We arrived in Ethiopia at 3:30 AM. Everyone else in our group, including my wife, had the correct information. Everyone entered immigration, no problem. Not me! What’s more, there was no one to help me. So what do you do?
I had three options. Do nothing. I quickly rejected that idea. Maybe you saw the movie, The Terminal with Tom Hanks. The film is about a foreigner who is stuck in a New York City terminal when he is denied entry to the United States and at the same time is unable to return to his native country because of a military coup. He was stuck for 18 years. I didn’t want that!
Option two, scream and complain. But that wouldn’t get me any closer to getting into the country and it might even get me arrested.
Finally, watch and pray. Watch for someone to show up and help me out of my predicament. Watch for the Lord to answer my prayers. Pray that God would make the most of the situation. So, I prayed a simple prayer. “God turn this situation around.” With the prayer support of people back in the states, my wife, and a simple prayer, God turned things around. I eventually received a new visa!
It reminded me of something I believe in and have been teaching for years. “Go to God as our first resort, not last resort.” Ephesians 6:18 says “At all times, pray by the power of the Spirit. Pray all kinds of prayers. Be watchful, so that you can pray. Always keep on praying for all of God’s people.”