A Prayer of Thanksgiving (STUCK IN CHINA PT.3)
10:34 PM, Tuesday August 21, 2007.
Our God is a loving God. He will abandon us up to death, to suffering, to persecution, and to torture; but He will follow us into any horrors into which we are sent by Him. I have no fear of enemy, mortal or otherwise, for my God goes before me, and His presence is Comfort itself. After the conquering king has entered the city, whom among his true subjects would fear to enter? My King and my God! You do not work save for the good of those whom you love; And in this life, what temptation is there which I fear when you are my strong right hand and my unwavering courage?
I will be tested from without and tempted from within; but such tests serve but to perfect me into the tool of eternal craftsmanship. If I desire too much my bodily welfare or physical flourishing, I ignore my eternal wellbeing and spiritual hope: what man in his right mind preserves his child's baby clothing and casts the child into the cold? No man who is worthy of being called by such a name. So likewise I am willing for the things of this life to be discarded, that I might be raised up by my heavenly Father into another, greater thing than that which I am now.
What a moron gives way under the weight of pressure when the goal is in sight! And so I have been commanded to run the race to win the prize. My Father has given me the greatest duty and station of all: to Love and be Loved, for and by Him. My Love and my Life! Nothing is so lovely as to divest You of your worthiness. Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is filled with Your glory; and I am humbled by your presence, surrounded as I live through this world.
After a panicked rush of thoughts tonight around 7 PM, about the potential difficulties lying ahead when I try to leave Beijing on Thursday, I prayed seeking God's comfort, then slept. At 10:30, got a call from a fellow Christian friend, asking me to hang out the next day. What an encouragement! His voice on the phone was a direct answer to prayer - the voice of God's Love manifested in His children. Afterwards, I read the 31st Psalm in Chinese, then wrote this prayer of thanksgiving for solace and aid. Am still apprehensive, but more than that, secure in the knowledge that my Father is sovereign over all.
Yo this been the BEST DAY EVER (no longer STUCK IN CHINA PT.4)
5:21 AM UST, 5:21 PM China, Thursday August 23, 2007.
Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.
So, as everyone who's been paying attention ought to remember, I'd been stuck in China this week, due to what I can only surmise is a combination of divine oversight and mortal idiocy. I've mainly just been kicking back these last three days; it was a chill time, just watching Friends nonstop on my computer, bugging my friend Carrie to hang out with me, and getting to see some friends who i'd otherwise have never seen anytime soon.
In any case, as the time for my imminent departure drew near, I started growing somewhat nervous; what kind of problems could possibly arise? Traveling has never been particularly easy on me, but, hey, I steeled my nerves and prepared for the trip.
Much to my surprise (mei xiang dao!), but this has thus far been the best, smoothest travelling experience I've ever had. I showed up at the airport hours before my flight left, was first in line at the counter; Carrie helped me exchange my old Sunday e-ticket for today's paper ticket, I was first in line to check in, got through customs with no issues; watched a few hours of Friends in the terminal, and got on board with no problems.
After having boarded the plane, I found my seat with no problems; unfortunately, as a first for me, I had a window-emergency exit combo seat. No storage space at my feet, no window to my left, and the burden of knowing that, were we to encounter any sort of life-threatening situation, the lives of about 1/6 of the passengers on plane were riding right on me. Whee.
But, oh, even greater; as I sat there, semi-uncomfortably shifting my laptop bag on my lap (thanks to the no-foot-storage space), another young lady came along and told me I was in her seat. Well, funny; I was also in my seat. We called for an attendant to sort it out and, as he disappeared ahead into the service area, a middle-aged woman with a small kid (her ticket said her name was Zhang Yue) showed up claiming that 23A was, in fact, laid claim to by her. Woo.
At around this time, the thought that this situation might actually be working out to my advantage wormed itself into my mind. I'd always heard of passengers, having encountered seating issues, being "bumped up" to first class. Of course, the fact that the two Americans swigging Heinekens next to me brought up this very phenomenon didn't hurt.
As the rest of the passengers filed into their seats, my two seat buddies and I stood in front of the emergency exit - yeah, not a hazard at all. The attendant came back and handed us our ticket stubs; 23A was x'd out, and 3K written in its place. Man that was the lowest number that I have ever seen on a plane ticket.
So I worked my way up through the plane, each section nicer than the last. Having wound up at Business Class, I sat down, welcomed by a stewardess offering me my choice of juice, beer, or champagne. I don't like champagne; I drank champagne because the airline wanted me to drink champagne; on an airplane.
You get the point; fast forward about 4 and a half hours, and I'm sitting here in business class. No, that's a lie, i'm lying down. There is a massager built into this chair/bed. When I'm ready to go to bed, I will use the handbag filled with toiletries that they gave me. This is the biggest seat I've ever seen on an airplane. I had a four-course meal for dinner; I know because I counted. I liked the lobster, but ultimately the pork was better. Man this airline ride is the best.
Honestly, since this last Sunday, I've been wondering about this whole getting stuck in China thing. It's had its ups and downs; I've been wishing I could have seen my sister off to college, not to mention not spending 1200 dollars of my parents' money, or being a burden on Carrie for 3 days (man she works harder than i've known people to work). But after my conversation yesterday with Billy, not to mention this amazing day of travel, I'm certain that this was meant to be. God put me in the places He needed me to be, and He been watching over me anyways.
9 hours of airline services to use...