• A time to stop praying


    Four hours before our flight, Savin, our 6-month boy, has no visa yet. 

    Several unforeseen events that I have no control of lead to significant delays on his visa application.

    Twenty days away from our flight, I was told that everything will be alright and the visa can be finished ahead of time.

    I did my research just to prepare a Plan B for the worse case. Indeed I learned there is another option for our baby to exit the country, using an "exit permit."

    A week to go before our flight, there was still no news about the visa. So I suggested to the person managing it to consider Plan B.

    Four days passed, I sensed the need to personally do the process myself in Abu Dhabi (because my residence visa is issued by Abu Dhabi) otherwise, it will just be another case of pray and "bahala na si Lord."

    We cannot re-book our travel because there is a special occasion planned to be celebrated upon our arrival in Manila. Also, it will create a painful domino effect on our hotel bookings in Subic and in Hong Kong - which means paying a whole lot of rebooking or cancellation fees.

    "Panic" and prayer

    Dependency on God is not a question in our household.  Instead of worrying, we pray. We've been praying about the visa all the time.

    But I told myself I need to stop praying and start doing necessary actions so I can see how God answers my prayer. What I really meant to say was, I need to stop praying so I can channel my mind in thinking of ways to address my situation.

    It's not a panic attack. I remained still.

    Being still, and knowing that God is in control doesn't mean we just have to sit back and wait for the answer. Being still means having that inner peace, that no matter what happens, we understand that God's ways are better than our ways.

    Being still allows us to see things from a higher perspective. Calmness helps in thinking of more positive ways to address the issue, in which we won't be able to do when we're in a panic.

    I believe, whenever we present our prayers and petitions to God, he gives us options in return. It is up to us to choose what "Call to action" to take.

    The bible says...


    So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” - James 4:17


    So I decided to go to Abu Dhabi 

    I drove 340 kilometers back and forth for 3 days, until the day of our flight. There was an emotional tug-of-war inside me throughout the whole ordeal. I would feel disappointed on every rejection, but I was quick to compose myself back.

    One time I will be told to bring another document. When I return, another doc will be asked. I don't have all those docs because some processes are still ongoing at that time, and I am not a P.R.O.

    It was 45 degrees as I walk in and out of the immigration, typing centers, and post office, only to be told "InshAllah" - in which I actually believe in as well.

    My faith remains strong and I always recognize that 'God's will' will be done at all times. While God wants us to pray without ceasing, I believe He also wants us to do something about our situation.

    I did not claim that God will allow the visa to be released. In fact, I was calmly preparing myself of acceptance in case the visa won't finish on time. It helps a lot that my wife gives me constant encouragement that God's plan will eventually prevail - be it favorable for us or not - we need to joyfully accept it and find out what God wants to impress in our hearts. She keeps reminding me that God's timing is perfect.

    The outcome

    The day of our flight - I reached Abu Dhabi 30 minutes before 8, anticipating to get it done at the earliest. Frustration has set on me when I was told to go back at 2pm for an unknown reason. Our flight is scheduled at 5:15 in the afternoon.

    That means we're not flying.

    I was frustrated but my mind was still working for solutions while also accepting that we might not fly at all. My wife and I were already looking for the next available flights (which was not too easy at a peak season).

    Good thing, our company driver who was with me that day, was all-willing to help me get this done 'whatever it takes.'

    We bounced from one typing center to another to get the visa electronically approved. We got the approval at 12:45. We quickly returned to the immigration and lo, we were allowed to get in.

    We got the visa stamped by 1pm. It pays to have a company who shares a "never say die" attitude.

    I drove as fast as I can (to the maximum limit) to reach home and make it at least an hour before the schedule.

    Because of what happened, we haven't had packed our travel bags well ahead of time. Thank God for our friends, Ever and Mags for making themselves available to help my wife in preparing our stuff.

    I reached home 3pm.  God is faithful.

    We made it!


    Being proactive always helps

    Had I just kept praying and not done anything, I would end up "just being told" sorry for it is what it is. I would end up having real frustration. There are no results to celebrate. There won't be this opportunity to share yet another story of God's grace.

    Steven R. Covey said, "proactive people carry their own weather with them." True enough, there's always time to pray, and time to act.
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