Our home assignment in 2020 had two unexpected challenges. Home assignment is hard enough without extra challenges (that’s why we call it an assignment, it’s not a holiday). Both these challenges related to COVID and they both involved waiting. COVID made life hard in general, this included our church visits in the first half of 2020. We went from meeting in person to meeting online in a split second. Talk about whiplash. Then came the difficult news when our June flights to Cambodia were canceled.
Our first challenge was how to proceed. With the help of CMS we came to the plan of staying in Australia for the rest of 2020. This gave our family stability amongst a lot of unknowns, especially that our children could finish the academic year in Australia. We were in a season of waiting and while it was hard to wait, there was harder to come.
This harder news came at the end of 2020 in December. Our next challenge was that our visa wasn’t approved, so we had to cancel our January flights to Cambodia. That was rough. What was rougher was the unknown-ness of this second challenge. When flights were canceled the first time, we set a time to return. With visa uncertainty, would we ever get back to Cambodia? We were well aware that this has been the experience of some missionaries.
What I want to reflect on is that month of waiting and not knowing (late Dec until early Feb) was harder than the six months previously when we had set an arbitrary date to return. We were waiting and knowing. Waiting with knowledge is much easier than waiting without knowing. This is very much akin to Christian hope. We aren’t hopeful, as in whether we hope it will rain or not. We’re hopeful with more certainty. We’re certain of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. We’re certain of Jesus’ promised return. Hope is waiting with knowing and that actually makes things easier than waiting and not knowing.