Navigating rapids, crossing precarious log bridges, sloshing through knee-deep water, and doggedly trying to keep up with our native guide. These were a few of the physical exercises that kept my body busy on our most recent hike in the jungle. Yet in spite of the physical exertion, I still had a few minutes to contemplate the more abstract components of our journey--the reasons that brought about this hike through the jungle.
As I thought about my son and his love for photography, I thought about what a vlog covering this jungle trek would look like. I began to think about the starting point of the trip and wondered if it started with the trip to the airport, or sometime before that. Was it initiated with purchasing the necessary travel items, or with the packing? Or did it start with the planning that took place months ago, the gathering of information, the myriad of contacts, phone calls, and personal interviews in order to make sure everything was in order?
Or did it start years ago when we first felt God's call to this particular group? Or even many years before that, with the ground-breaking work and prayers of those who labored among these people many years ago at great personal cost? Did it all begin millennia ago, with an empty tomb, or with a cross on a skull-shaped hill? Or did it actually start before that, on the cusp of Creation as Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree, thus necessitating that the Good News would eventually go out to all corners of the world?
My conclusion was that it wasn't actually at any one of these specific junctures. It actually all began in an incomprehensible entity called "eternity." Somewhere within that bubble of eternity, exists God's plan. That plan included mankind, and mankind included you, me and the Ahsatdah. These people, who we were going to visit, were on God's radar every bit as much as the nation of Israel. It was these people that He had in mind when He uttered the Abrahamic blessing: "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).
So really, the planning for this trip began before the foundations of the world were laid. Only now, thousands of years later, are we treading the sands of Time, following the footprints of our Redeemer that He left--shadows of the eternal plan of God. A plan that entailed "a Great Light" that would "shine in the darkness" and would illumine "the people that walked in darkness" and would lead them "into His marvelous light" (Is. 9:2, Jn. 1:5, 1 Pt. 2:9).
Now, over a week after the trip, as I sit here contemplating these people that are still shrouded in darkness, I'm struck again how God's eternal plan included these very needy people--the Ahsatdah--who still sit in darkness. How will the Light shine? The obstacles look overwhelming at times. The location daunting. The hurdles, almost insurmountable. Yet, the realization that God's plan included them, and somehow, for some reason, includes us, gives us strength and hope to keep moving forward.
May we continue to pray "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth (among the Ahsatdah), as it is in Heaven."