What about when God seems absent?

I don’t want to write this blog. I don’t want it to be where I’m at or how I’m feeling…but it is. And I feel challenged to not just write about all the highs, right? Sometimes life is a low. This past 24 hours has been a low.

When I was almost at the end of my quarantine in NSW, I had to apply for permission to enter Perth. It was a tense time, but my application came back with the glorious word ‘APPROVED’ stamped right across it. There was some confusion because the travel permit seemed to suggest I would both need to quarantine AND not be required to do so, based upon the decision of the border officials on my arrival into WA.

Throughout my time in Sydney, I had countless people contact me to say they were praying that I wouldn’t need to go through a second quarantine, particularly because, needing to do so would mean our wedding plans would have to be cancelled and rearranged, for the third time, and that felt like just too much to imagine. Plus, with 4 negative covid tests and a double vaccination certificate, I’m probably the safest person in the whole of Australia right now! Logically, a second quarantine didn’t make sense, and, on top of that, hadn’t God promised me it would be sorted??

On my first few nights in Sydney, I woke up each night in a panic, worrying I would never reach Craig and would have to repeat the quarantine experience. It felt beyond what I could manage, and my heart was heavy. Over and over, I felt this reassuring voice of God, saying to me, ‘I’ve done it before, and I will do it again’.

Flying into Perth was surreal. There were 5 of us on the whole plane and 300+ empty seats. We took off early and landed early. Check in at Sydney went like a dream and the whole trip was just perfect. I managed to balance the ideal cycle of sleep, read, watch TV, drink fizz, repeat and I arrived in WA so excited by what lay ahead. My faith in getting through border force and heading off into the sunset with Craig was so strong. I just knew it would be OK. ‘I’ve done it before and I will do it again’, God had kept saying. Let’s see your miraculous works, Lord. Let’s do it!

So, when the border official told me I had to quarantine for an additional 14 days, I broke down right there and simply wept. I showed them the travel permit that clearly stated that if I arrived in Perth within 12 hours of leaving Sydney I would not need to quarantine. I told them my wedding was scheduled for one week’s time. They looked at one another, scratched their heads and came back with the same information: Go directly to quarantine, do not pass go, do not collect £200…

My precious Craig found me sobbing and disorientated in the baggage claim area and folded me up in his arms, stroking my hair and reassuring me it would be ok. He drove me to my quarantine address and sat outside the closed door all evening, calling to me as we shared our first meal in 20 months (and 9 days, to be precise), and we contacted hotels and wedding venues and hairdressers and make-up artists, and caterers and cancelled our wedding for the third time. And I was sad, heartbroken, miserable…and then I realised I was fuming. I was livid!

Yes, I was mad at this crazy system that meant this 4-times-negative-double-jabbed arriver had to be locked away, despite already doing that time, but I also realised I was mad at God. So mad. Didn’t you promise me Lord, ‘I’ve done it before, and I will do it again’??  Did I hear wrong? Did you mean something else? Was it just wishful thinking? And what are you saying now Lord because you’ve gone very quiet over there… Silent. Silence.

This morning the police called at my door to check I am where I said I would be. They asked me question after question, and I could see they were getting increasingly confused. Then they said to me ‘I can’t understand why you’re in quarantine! Call this number and ask them to overturn this decision. It doesn’t make sense’.

Ah! Was this it?! God was going to swoop in at the 11th hour and save the day. The wedding would go ahead, and it would be all the sweeter because it had been snatched away, only to be miraculously reinstated. Was this the holy celestial plan??

I called the number. Nobody could believe my story, but they also were not able to change my situation, but they gave me an email address and coached me in specifically what to write, even down to the subject line. My heart revived as my hands shook while I typed and then I waited…

God was going to pull it out of the bag, I knew it.

An email pinged back: ‘thank you for your email… as you are now aware if you arrive at Perth Airport within 12 hours of completing Supervised Quarantine in NSW, you are subject to a further 14 days self-quarantine… We empathise with your situation however are unable to further assist’.

It was a no. it felt like a bigger no than the one at border control yesterday. And I was reminded of that Proverb, in the bible, that says, ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick’ (Proverbs 13:12). And my heart is sick. It’s really freaking sick. And I don’t know where God is, or what God is saying, except I must accept that God is the only other being in this quarantine with me – even if I am mad at him.

And I don’t understand this situation. I don’t know how it will be redeemed, or how it will, like all things, work together for good. I don’t even know if God did say ‘I’ve done it before, and I will do it again’ and I don’t know whether God has gone on holiday or is busy sorting someone else out or didn’t get my forwarding address or what. But I’m in Perth and the more I hear and the more I read the more I see that is a miracle.

I know God is good and hasn’t forgotten me. I know God has good things for me. I know God was there on that deserted flight. I know God was with me as I wailed at border control. I know God was with the shocked police officer who didn’t know how to deal with the weeping vicar in front of him.

I know all that. I just don’t feel it. 🙁


  1. Mum S says:

    Throughout your journey to Perth, the scratching and shaking of heads was because no-one could believe that you were able to get there – but God did it!
    Now, the scratching and shaking of heads is because no-one can believe that you have to undergo a second quarantine. We may never fully know why this is happening, hindsight may cast some light………..BUT this takes NOTHING away from the miracles that have got you this far……..and you can do this……..and today’s feelings are already better than yesterday’s. Love you Precious one 💜


    1. Love you Mum xxx


  2. hhrurc says:

    Bless your lovely boots Gemma. I guess this is a “Render unto Caesar” moment in life.
    As soon as you get out of that house your life will become a whirlwind…and it was previously.
    Maybe this is God’s way of giving you some quiet time with Craig and in your new city (through a door, true, but if it was different there would be manic activity!) without the distractions of “things to do, places to go, people to see..”
    The fabulous thing is, that like Job, you have NO doubt of God still being there.


  3. elainebntlworldcom says:

    Oh sweetheart, I just feel sick to the core over your situation, why do crap things happen to lovely people…because they are the ones who can deal with it and survive. And survive this you will. You’ve seen Craig, shared s meal (through a closed door…ok) but a meal was shared. In 14+ days he will be your husband for life, the rest of your days and beyond. You are a strong, confident lady, straighten that crown, wave two fingers to the Aussie border force crap, remember the hurdles you have beaten to get to where you are, you are invincible. The wedding will wait for you, what’s a wedding without a beautiful bride, a beautiful Gok styled bride at that. Chin up, you’re on the home straight. Sending you huge hug and much love.xxx


  4. Debbie ward says:

    You are strong and you will.get through AGAIN!! We are all with you, willing you to fly through the next 14 days. Not long lovely and all will be good. Xxxxx


  5. Chris Wortham says:

    Hi Gemma, so sad to hear of this further delay today. How terribly disappointing for you. Had coffee with Debbie this morning and we were so hoping for fresh decision that would make the double quarantine unnecessary. Just know that you have a huge wave of support here as we all wait for you to join us. Thinking so much of you and Craig with our hopes and prayers.


  6. Catherine Thompson says:

    A wonderful Christian lady told me years ago, before I ever committed my life to Jesus, “It’s faith, not feelings that count.” We can know that in our hearts but when we have to live through the experiences which prove it it’s tough.
    God has taken you this far He will not let you down now. I’m so glad you know that, even if you don’t feel it at the moment.
    God bless you both in your new life together.


  7. aisonfarnell says:

    Dear Gemma,
    You are exactly where I was 3 years ago this very week. But in reverse circumstances. Then, I had seen so much evidence of his grace in the weeks immediately before, yes miracles, like you have experienced … and there have been amazing miracles to get you to Perth! Then, I knew God was there and in it, but … and it was a big but! I knew God was carrying me through, enabling me to be and do. You know that too, the blog is evidence enough! He gave me peace, and eventually, yes, joy, and has carried me into his future, in my case as a newly single woman. He will do the same for you! I pray you FEEL that soon, and know that you will see yet more miracles on the way. Much love


  8. arkayspark says:

    Oh Gemma, I feel for you. Know you are wrapped in the hugs and prayers of the St Paul’s congregation. Hang in there. At times like these, I cling to Romans 8 “ [38] For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, [39] Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


  9. Wendy Grocott says:

    Life is not fair Gemma and I am so sorry for this major disappointment for you but I imagine Australia is still doing its best to fight the battle with Covid and I pray for all the poor people and their families who continue to lose their lives to it 🙏😢❤❤❤xx


  10. Chris Watts says:

    Feel for you Gemma it’s been an ordeal for you you’ve got this far , youre strong and you bound to feel down, . Don’t think many could have done what you’ve done on your own to get there. You’ve needed to have a good weep. You’ve got this far and it’s onwards and upwards soon. And you will be Mr and Mrs bazeley and have your new life in oz. Sending love and prayers to you🙏❤️


  11. Linda Wainscot says:

    Gemma, this blog is, as always, honest and true….. thank you for writing what each of us feels at times. Its easy to chant, ‘God is good …all the time….all the time…. God is good’ but so much harder when it doesn’t feel like that. I pray that you will truly feel the peace that passes all understanding as you endure this horrid horrid season. Xx


  12. Mary Hill says:

    Remember you are the daughter of a King, so straighten your crown unfurl your wings and get ready for everything that is before you 🙏 🥰.


  13. Rachel says:

    We haven’t met, but I know your sister and niece. Your blog is so honest and open. Thank you. I’m praying for you guys over the next two weeks and into your future together.


  14. Oh Gemma, I was so upset for you when I heard you had to quarantine again. That’s so unfair after all you gave been through.
    I cried when I read this blog today.
    But I know God is there looking after you, in his own way and you have Craig even if the other side of the door.
    You take care and keep strong xx


  15. Jacqui Rogers says:

    To quote Ang Hall – ‘This too will pass-maybe like a gallstone, but it will pass!’
    God never ever wastes an experience, so be assured He has some grand plans for your future.
    Your blog has been helping me through an unexpected & unwanted set of events in my life which have just taken a twist making things worse – you are already helping others.
    God is sitting in the silence with you not apart from you…


  16. Celia Andrews says:

    Dear Gemma, holding you in the Light, Love and prayers! We’re looking forward to your presence among us.


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