Yesterday came and went. The wedding did not happen. Our son Tim is in lockdown here in Auckland and his fiancee Shama is in lockdown in Pune India.
To mark the occasion and underscore their trust in God, Tim recorded a song he composed some years ago based on the 96th Psalm; Shama, meanwhile, wrote down her thoughts. Below are both, with Tim and Shama’s permission. Be blessed.
18th April 2020, Saturday
This would have been my wedding day. I know that I am one of many hopeful brides who is going through the reality of not being able to get married; not because my wedding is cancelled but because it has been postponed due to the corona virus situation. I do however feel different than most brides that I know because I do not have the advantage of having my fiancé be in the same country or city as me. It has been a difficult time of confusion and despair and everything that comes with not being able to get married and see your fiancé but it has been a time of learning.
To give you a bit of background; I met my fiancé Timothy via Whatsapp a year ago on the 15th (15 Apr 2019). Our parents and a couple of common family friends arranged our meeting and Whatsapp was the best way to meet. Timothy lives in Auckland, New Zealand which is about 12195 kms away (by flight) from where I live in Pune, India. We started talking and within five days we were ready to seriously consider getting married beginning with getting engaged. We continued to speak to one another and we grew close to one another and finally met in person and got engaged in July; not all on the same day I might add. In July we decided that the best time to get married would be in April, taking into consideration visa requirements and processing times. I applied for my visa in August and after a long wait finally received my visa in February.
Everything was going according to plan and things that we could never have imagined fell into place. Timothy and I, along with both our families knew that this could only be God’s work and plan that he was carrying out and we were only receivers of the blessings.
Everything was in place; my wedding lehenga, our house, wedding preparations. You name it and it was either done or close to being done. The only thing that remained was that I along with my family needed to be in Auckland. That too was close to being done; we had our visas, tickets and we were packed. I along with my mum, younger brother and grandmother were supposed to leave on the 5th of April and my father on the 12th.
In early March however the corona virus situation began to get out of hand as cases started increasing and more countries began to get affected. Tim’s parents along with my parents decided that it would be better if I and possibly my mum left early so that we would be able to go ahead with the wedding on the 18th and also fulfill the requirements of the quarantine enforced in New Zealand for all foreign passengers arriving into the country. I guess everyone was thinking the same and as flights got cancelled and countries tightened their borders only I was able to get a ticket for the 21st of March. Painfully, yet in a way that I knew I couldn’t get around, I knew that I would have to travel alone and possibly also get married alone without any family or friends standing by me. I love Timothy and as hard as it would have been, I agreed that if I had to, I would get married without my immediate family.
On the 19th of March, just a couple of days before I was supposed to leave, everything changed. New Zealand closed its borders to any foreign nationals and soon India closed its borders to any Indian nationals leaving the country. All our plans and changed plans crumbled like a sand castle. I must admit here that not being able to get married at all is much harder than getting married alone. I was; more than even actually getting married, looking forward to being able to see Tim and be in the same time zone as him and just hold his hand if I could. Long distance relationships are hard and I never anticipated before I was in one that I would pine for these things. So with crumbled plans and more so a crumbled heart all I could do was cry and then show a brave face to the world. The thing that I hoped for, for all of my adult life was finally going to happen in a way that was marvelous and that I knew wasn’t chance or coincidence; it was eternally and sovereignly ordained by my God and Saviour and then it didn’t happen. Nothing prepares you for disappointments that you have no control over and that come in times of jubilation and joyful anticipation.
So I did with my crumbled plans and heart the only thing I can do; I took them to the same God who I knew had planned, ordained and was sovereign over my life. I asked him to take my crumbled plans away and restore the plans I had originally made. I asked him to restore my heart by restoring my plans and allowing me to be with my fiancé so that he could become my husband and me his wife. I asked him to take corona virus away so that my plans could go ahead as planned. These particular requests were not answered and I am writing this and it is not my wedding day nor do I know when it will be. I do know that despite my prayers being answered in a negative, that my God is a good God and a God who is sovereign not only over my life but over every person’s life and also over the corona virus. He has planned it and he alone knows how it will end; just like he alone knows, because he has planned when I will get married. So I trust God because he is trustworthy and faithful even when and especially when things do not go as we have planned.
I have found myself many times in the past few weeks in a contradicting situation. I have been finding comfort in God’s word as I read about his sovereignty over creation and sin and conquering sin and his love for me in that he died on a cross to save my soul. While I know and trust and have experienced God’s sovereignty and believe him to be a God I trust, I have also been falling apart in tears and heartache at my situation. I find myself questioning my trust in God, whether is it genuine. How can I say I trust God yet continue to be heart broken and despair for a longing which at the present time I know cannot be fulfilled? Lamentations 3 has been a comfort in that what I was going through was normal. The author tells of how in a time where his strength was failing and he felt all hope had been lost, he remembers the steadfastness of the lord and the mercies of God and therefore he has hope. The author’s situation did not change, but he had hope for the future because of God’s proven steadfastness and mercy in the past. In a time where no one could adequately comfort me I found the one who truly understands my sorrows and who through my tears and pain knows that I am in trusting in him and that in times when my trust and strength fails, he renews me and teaches me to wait.
So I have learnt that I don’t know when my wedding will be or when I will get to see Tim and his family again. I do know however that I am in this situation and as hard as it is, I will get through it because my God reigns; over my life, Tim’s life and also the corona virus situation. There are so many things that we will have to refigure and replan for, but I am confident that the same God who worked things out so perfectly before will do so again and I will praise him continually. The days are going to get harder but hard days make me draw closer to my Jesus as I cry to him and he comforts and strengthens me. It’s amazing how through these uncertain times and times of confusion Tim and I have been able to become closer, despite the distance and time difference. We have found new ways of spending time together and enjoying each other’s company as we watch movies together, cook and continue to dream and plan our lives after the corona virus has passed and we are able to get married.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together
“Praying in faith does not always mean being sure that the very thing we ask will happen. But it does always mean that because of Jesus we trust God to hear us and help us in the way that seems best to him.” — John Piper
Shama, it was wonderful to read your thoughts, I know your mum in law from when we were younger…. worshipped for a while in a church in Bangalore. However, it gives me great joy to see how blessed she is to have a daughter in law with such strong faith. Also wonderful to see that you are from Pune, as we are, and would love to have the opportunity to meet your parents, perhaps not you since you will soon be in Aukland.. Trusting the Lord in all things, excited about all that the Lord has in store for the both of you!. Be blessed in Jesus name.