Thursday, March 01, 2007

Fording the River

It must have been an odd feeling. You have travelled thousands of miles and months have passed since you waved goodbye to your family, your friends, and your home. Here you are, having been living out of a covered wagon for countless months, constantly travelling west, only to meet a giant, rapid river. Suddenly you are confronted with a tedious decision, do you ford ahead, pushing through the current and hoping that the horse’s footing holds to make it through the river bank, or do you call it quits and hope you can live off the land?

Many pushed ahead regardless, hoping for better land, and ultimately a better life. These were the pioneers that many of us are able to call our family. We are proud of their accomplishments, and we mourn the loss of so many others who didn’t make it through these dangerous bodies of water.

Life is kind of like that. We come across giant rivers that we know we must push through in order to get closer to our final destination. There is a sense of pride as we look back and see all the rivers we’ve waded through thus far, and dread as we look forward and see how many we have yet to go through. But this is irrelevant, you are chest-deep in water, and the current is clawing at you, threatening to drag you down the stream with it.

One small step at a time, you have to keep pushing forward. Trusting that God will anchor your feet to the riverbed, and see you safely through. I can feel those claws ripping at me now. Discouragement, Doubt, Hate, Disbelief, Disillusionment, Apathy. All of them want to take me down the river with them, over the waterfall. But I cannot go. I must force my way through the many obstacles ahead, trusting that God will hold me steady, and carry me through. Truly, these are the footprints of our lives.

We had young adults this evening. Many of them have warmed up significantly to me and the other ‘white’ people in the group, so the laughing abounded early on. It was neat to just sit and be people with others from a completely different culture, enjoying each other. We played Attack! Uno. I spoke on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15. There was good food. We laughed and shared joy.

The real lessons for me came after, however. I rode in the back of the van with the rest of the Fijians. Just listening for whatever clues I could garnish from their interactions. One of the most profound statements came out at that moment. We were just leaving a paved road for a bumpy, gross, underdeveloped back road, and the comment was made, “Ah... back to civilization.”

Think about that for a moment.

We live our lives in a rat race, always trying to get above and beyond the ‘Jones’.’ But what is really important? These are people who are happy with a roof over their head and food in their stomach. They have smiles on their faces not because of what they possess, but because of who they are around. This is a lesson we could all benefit by heeding.

“Ah... back to civilization.”

1 comment:

Jordan said...

absolutely! it's good now and then to get remimded of what's really important in life and to not ignore the hardships, but to draw on His strength and to push through them, growing and building character in the process. I'm so proud to know you. You are a man after God's heart.