efore we arrived in Panama, we had seen the handiwork of the Kuna Indians and were amazed at their beautiful Mola creations. They would take the jungle and its inhabitants and meticulously sew them into intricate three layer tapestries. We would soon discover the secrets of these pieces of art!
Can you see the arthropods on this one?
When challenged for tribal missions the unknowns were the most difficult to adjust to…and the unknowns were many and continual. Honestly, there were more unknowns in our jungle life than I could ever have imagined while stateside…and trust me, I thought my fear had covered everything conceivable in preparation for our missionary service!
The word hope in the Bible is a term of certainty. The Greek word translated “hope” in the New Testament is elpizo, which means, “to anticipate with confident expectation.” Uncertainty and the unknown are bedfellows! They helped develop my capacity to be a woman of hope and not despair.
Arriving in the last frontier of Panama…the Darien Gap, I stepped over the threshold of our new home. The Darien Gap is said to be one of the last wild frontiers in the world!
Had I not heard this before arriving??
It was dark and wet. The mud-packed floor was cold! Ralph had poured one cement floor in the house, but then realized it was not a viable option to do more considering the amount of weighty bags of cement that would have to be carried two days from Panama City by banana boat and, then, another day upriver by dugout to reach the shoreline of our village.
Kim, our youngest daughter, was a nursing baby when we first arrived. As the months rapidly slipped away from us, we knew she would soon be crawling. Anticipating his daughter’s first attempts, her Dad found woodcutters from Colombia to carve a wood floor from the jungle.
He also brought in cats from Panama City to discourage the creepy crawlers, skittering mice, and flying bats in the house at night! Kim loved the cats! Right on cue, before the floor was finished, Kim began crawling and she was fast! She chased the cats and disappeared out of sight every chance she got!
One morning her little friends were circling our bed in a very agitated manner. Kim was as excited as the cats and crawling right behind them! Swiftly snatching her up into my arms, I caught a glimpse of something large moving under the bed! I was hoping it was a bird that had lost its way…
Not certain what had entered the house unaware, I instinctively picked up the biggest and heaviest object I had close at hand…Ralph’s size 14 combat boot! With one fell swoop I smashed the largest scorpion I had ever seen. Its crushed tail extended beyond the end of the boot!
Alertness is learning to foresee dangers and fully understand the consequences! No problem here…I was on alert!
This, of course, includes creepy crawlers but also being alert to the dangers of our words, actions, attitudes, and thoughts! My thoughts could never have visualized all the variables that became my almost daily occurrences. Being alert to what was taking place around me was a practice that became inherent in our jungle life.
Being watchful and prompt to meet danger or an emergency is the definition of alertness. Learning to pay attention to the lessons God was teaching me through the experiences He was bringing my way were invaluable to my spiritual growth. My anxiety, resistance and need to be “in control” often hindered His growing me up!
How alert are you?
Have those under your care experienced problems that should have been detected and corrected?
Are you aware of opportunities God gives you to witness and encourage others to grow spiritually?
What is the last problem you could have avoided by being alert to danger?