I heard a great line at Camp Meeting this year - "having your prayers answered is not a sign of great faith. Believing when your prayers are not answered the way you wanted - that's great faith."
This last month has been all about red tape.
It started at the end of June when I had a dream. In it I was denied boarding to England because my passport had expired. In the dream, I then went around LA trying to get that fixed. It was more of a nightmare than a dream, and I woke bolt upright. And then decided to check my passport - ha, it had expired two weeks earlier.
Panicked, I found an express service, got some pictures (a long story in and of itself) and went over everything twice - maybe even three times, and went to the UPS store to send the application to Washington DC over night. When it went, I breathed a sigh of relief and headed off for a lunchtime visit with a church member. That's when I realized I'd not included the old passport with the application. So I called my package back, fixed it, and breathed another sigh of relief. I've other stories up to this point of chance encounters, things learned, and miracles I did not deserve.
But I sat back now, waiting for the new passport to arrive. It didn't. I decided it was time to check up on it's progress. Eventually I found out I had been caught smiling in the photographs I supplied. A big no no now.
Lots of holding, phone calls and e-mails, but at the end of it, I just gave up - there was no way I could get my passport from 2500 miles away here on time. So I did what I had hoped I would not have to do - tell the person in charge of the camp I'm off to speak at that I couldn't make it.
Then the next wave of miracles happened. First a good friend of mine, Douglas McCormac, was in on the thread as he is speaking at the same camp I'm going to. He just said - "I believe in miracles". You've no idea how inspiring those words were. So I just kept making all the calls I could think of and all the plans I could follow through on.
And I waited.
Perhaps God wanted me to go, perhaps he other plans for me and or the camp. I'm at a point where I'm not worried about things nearly as much as I used to be, and while I don't like the thought of letting people down, I accepted staying home.
Then, while getting more pictures taken (of a very stern looking Pastor Stephen), the consulate in LA called me. And I now have an appointment where they will give me the documents I need to travel without a passport.
God willing (and I do not use that term lightly), I will be in Ireland for summer camp, where we'll look at the central character of Jesus in the book of Revelation starting Tuesday next week.
In the meantime, so many of you have prayed and lifted this issue up to God. How incredible it is to feel those prayers on my behalf, and the on the behalf of this camp. I've grown a great deal through this so far - and I'm excited to see what God might do next week.