Blog from Kristy Engel

God has a funny way of reminding me who is in charge…

You probably have heard the saying, “Man plans and God laughs.”  It’s an old Yiddish saying that seems to explain most of my travels. I spend a lot of time planning my trip, preparing materials, packing just the right clothing and doing so much to make sure that my travel goes as I’m expecting. And then it doesn’t.

I’m wondering if maybe I should simply wear a t-shirt that says, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21” At least that way, my fellow travelers will recognize that our flight is going to be interesting! And yet, I’m generally pretty calm.

I have learned over many years of crazy travel adventures that I still arrive whole…I always have a good story to tell…wherever I finally land, it’s pretty amazing…and always, ALWAYS I can see God’s direction and hand for having me in just this place at just this time. I admit, I yearn for uncomplicated travel, my suitcases arriving with me and kind and considerate seatmates but I also know that I am cherished by God and that is not determined by where I am.

God is and will be with me wherever I go (Joshua 1:9). I have never doubted this, in spite of some fairly dangerous or out of the way places that I am led. Having the assurance of God’s guiding hand and presence is more than enough to calm my heart.

In my most recent adventures, I was denied entry into Bangladesh, which amounted to 5+ hours of sitting in immigration holding, having to make immediate plans to fly to Bangkok and figure out what I would do for a week in Thailand…all on New Years Eve! I contacted a friend in Thailand to lament what felt like a disaster, and she simply said, “Kristy, remember that God already knew this was going to happen. Rest in that.” Although I would have preferred not getting on another flight after more than 30 hours of travel, I DID recognize that there was no need to worry. I am a child of God and as such, under God’s care. I really can rest in that, and so can you.

My departure from Bangladesh took me to Thailand and I have spent a week with colleagues and friends. I’ve listened, challenged and counseled. I have hiked and eaten excellent food. I’ve found moments of rest and begun working on a project that needed some time. I’ve been present for great conversations and talking about future visits. I’ve received encouragement and love. I am exactly where I was supposed to be.

Now, you may not be flying all over the world like I do, but my guess is that you’ve certainly gone through times when it feels like your world is spinning out of control…even as you thought you were prepared. In that moment, I would ask you to remember that God saw this coming and will not let you go. Take a breath. Try to see what might be opening up right before you…exciting, new and unexpected…just where you are supposed to be. Maybe not planned for by you, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t going to take you exactly where you should go.

Enjoy the adventure, look beyond your own perspective and see the possibilities. I am witness to a pretty great world awaiting your arrival…even if it wasn’t on your itinerary.