His Ways Are Higher

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Our sister Liz writes about her path from Los Angeles to Seoul and ultimately, to the heart of her Father.

Last week, I started a new job, moved into a new apartment, and essentially signed a commitment to living in Korea, my mother country (but still foreign!) for at least two years. None of this was part of the plan when I moved to Seoul from L.A.  three months ago – I was going to be here a year, tops, teach some English, freelance for some publications and head back home.

But when I first arrived, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be allowed to even stay in Korea, let alone commit to living here long-term. It turned out that I was registered at birth as a Korean citizen – even though I was born and raised in America – and as a result, the government refused to issue me a foreigner’s visa, but also denied me the right to activate my Korean citizenship. In essence, I was neither Korean nor American and was basically an alien waiting to get kicked out of the country.

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The solutions to fix this problem are few and quite frankly, near impossible if you’re already in Korea. And while my job was willing to wait, a huge blessing arrived in the form of a new job, and that company kept pushing for my immigrant status.

Thankfully though, my dad lives in Guam- which although, random in any context, turned out to be a huge blessing. Since legal mumbo jumbo and government laws are boring and I tended to zone out when people were explaining things to me in Korean, I won’t go into it – but I ended up going to Guam for a day (literally, 24 hours) in order to fix…everything and it’s all finally been resolved.

And after that whirlwind of a trip – I realized that God has a plan and a reason for everything. I was racking my brain as to why all of these hurdles were being thrown at me. Although I wasn’t blatantly trying to test God, I was still constantly poking His buttons.

“Can you fix this, God? Why did you throw this obstacle in my path? Seriously, what is the reason for this? What is the lesson in this? Tell me now”!

In hindsight, I rarely asked Him for help or at least, genuinely. Instead, I was challenging Him while seeking solutions on my own, and thinking,

“Hey, can You fix this? Because I don’t think You can”.

And I wasn’t even patient enough to wait for the lesson let alone the solution! And honestly, was it even necessary for me to know the lesson just for the situation to “feel” better? Does everything need to be explained or be so obvious?

But as selfish as my queries were, God still blessed me with new wisdom. Because of the visa situation, I had talk to my dad a lot more than I have in my entire life….and I had to be nice. While there were times where I would still get upset with him, this experience has replaced some of the negative memories and thoughts I’ve held about my father with decent ones.

On top of that, the last time I saw my uncle, who also lives in Guam, it ended on such bad terms that I really thought I’d never see him again. When I learned I’d have to go to Guam, I had angry thoughts, and was even planning on words to say to him if a fight erupted. But when I landed, my dad told me that my uncle was so excited to see me and was about to take the day off work to spend time with me. Even then, I was still bitter. However, when I walked into his office, my uncle was so welcoming. He asked about my health and how I was eating and settling into my life in a new country. As a result of that, all the angry words I had stored in my mind melted away in my mouth. Even though we’ll probably never be very close, the harsh memory has been replaced with something positive and I can think of them as my family again.

God doesn’t want us to hate and He wants us to be forgiving. The fact that I was unable to let go of this hurt and hate weighed heavily on my heart for years – but I had no tangible reason for changing my heart, and so it stayed hardened. Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

I spent all of three months trying to make things happen, when all the while, God was moving mountains in my life. All I needed to do was wait and stop trying to force plans of my own.

After all of that turmoil, everything has worked out according to His plan- bigger and better than I could have ever imagined. I left home thinking this sojourn would be an unremarkable blip in my life, a slight detour from my path to the “real world” but now, I am here.