Part 2 of a truncated letter I wrote to some friends who prayed for me regularly early on in my international adventures. Hope it’s encouraging 🙂
if I didn’t tell them however…
if I didn’t point it out … they would never know. When I had told them that I had never been out for longer then a 7 month period today I had done so with a clear conscience … if I didn’t bother to correct myself when I went in tomorrow would that really be lying?
Yes of course it would be and I knew it. As most of you know earlier this year I confessed to you all that, as a matter of convenience, I had told a lie on the phone in order to speed up a process that ‘would have arrived at the same conclusion anyhow just after a lot more work’. I had done it without a second thought … until I hung up the phone and then what I had done struck me … and it scared me.
It scared me enough that I wasn’t going to do it again. I would lose my insurance but I wasn’t going to lie. Thank you for those of you who took my request seriously to pray for my integrity … I could feel those prayers as I was making this decision.
To shorten the story a tad let’s jump to the conversation the next day.
“O.K. I guess these papers might work …”
“Before you spend all your time on that I really want to make sure that I do this with integrity and have a question I need to ask you.”
“O.K.” eyes narrowing.
“For the purposes of determining residency requirements … is that ANY 12 month period?”
“Yes ANY” with ‘any’ bold, underlined, in CAPS, and highlighted.
“Then I have to tell you that last night … I found a 12 month period when I was gone a couple weeks too long.”
“I stayed in India too long … I thought I hadn’t, but I had.”
Silence … there was nothing else to say … my eyes had dropped to the desk. I had passed the test but now I had to face the consequences.
“Was that with one of the schools that are on one of these pieces of paper?”
“Ya, the second one.”
“Well … that’s no problem at all.”
I made eye contact again, her face had completely changed.
“Thank you for your honesty … anyhow, these papers mean that we can go back and excuse you for being gone as a full time student … as long as those other pay stubs that you brought in have an Ontario address on them …”
I immediately handed them over.
“Yup, these will work just fine.” eyes smiling.
“Thank you SOO much.”
“Just a sec … we’ve got the big boss in today … let me run this letter from B.C. by him too … just in case it will work”
A few minutes passed and she came back with a sad smile.
“No it has to be Ontario … and since we know now that you were planning to go for years … well, we have to put a future red flag on your account … it’s off for now … for the next 7 months … but unless you come into the office then … it will be put on again.”
“But if I come in then, under an organization based out of Ontario?”
“Then you could go again as soon as the extension got processed.”
“Thank you again SOO much … you’ll probably see me in 7 months!”
So why did I feel to share this letter?
I honestly don’t think it was because I was trying to point out how honest I was for glory. I think the reason I wanted to pass it on was to remind us that when we listen to our consciences God does provide us a way out. It might make things messier or more complicated or even “worse” in a short perspective, but He will honor our attempts to love like he loves in the long perspective. Hope that came across.
Also, I think it’s good to remember that when our consciences do get pricked that doesn’t mean we fell of into the “evil” category and can’t get back up and try again. He will complete the good work he has begun in us as we partner with Him and allow Him too.