“…Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:33
Hang on to your hats, girls…this was one day in my life I could have skipped!
Ever had one of those days???
Dusk was cascading over the torrential waters, enveloping our dugout into the dark silence of the unknown jungle. Along the mangrove-lined shoreline we could hear twigs breaking and see shadows of what appeared to be dark, naked bodies racing us to the remote landing in the deep stillness.
For eight hours we had traveled upriver unceasingly, pressing on against the rapid flow of the Tuira River through lighting bolts, thunder and rain. The river had risen 8 feet as we fought the current in our long journey up the contiguously inaccessible jungle waters. Our goal to reach this isolated Indian village on the Colombian border in Panama was now within our reach!
Underneath the makeshift tarp that protected us from the worst of the violent storm were two little girls. One, just three, was exceedingly excited and could not wait to get out of the wet boat and the other, just a few months old, was securely wrapped in my arms. Our piragua was piled high with everything we would need for the next six months!
The boat brusquely hit the bank and as I stood, dripping wet, to face all the unknowns that had brought us to this sandy beach, the warm little bundle in my arms was abruptly yanked from me and disappeared into the darkness of the night!! I quickly grabbed my once excited and happy three years old by the hand. She was now very confused. Her contentment was exchanged for eyes full of fear! I pulled her close to me and began calling for my baby…
In that instant, the crowd pushed and shoved us up a short trail that led to our mud-floored, bark-walled house. My insistent calls for my lost child were ignored and unanswered.
As I stepped over the threshold of our unfinished new home, the rats…at least I prayed they were rats!... scurried among the barrels that had been sent a month ahead of us and now stored our rice and dried beans in the very open tin-roofed room. The sound of the rain on that roof was deafening!
My worst fear had come upon me…Job 3:25,26. I screamed again into the crowd for my tiny daughter and again received no response. I lifted my three year old into my arms and determinedly turned to walk back through the crowd down to the rivers edge!
Where had my baby gone? Who had taken her?!
Immediately, my panic turned to terror…
The familiar promise in Proverbs 1:33 eluded me. “…Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
What was happening? Why had God allowed this?
There are three Biblical Principles that came to mind regarding trials:
1. Trials are common to all of us. No one escapes unscathed. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to men. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” No excuses and no victims here! The real question is not why, but “Why not, Jackie, don’t you trust me?! I will never leave you or forsake you…listen to ME, not your circumstances!.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
2. Trials are given with divine purpose and will pass. “In this you may greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1Peter 1:6
3. Trials are life-lessons NOT to be wasted! “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce, “There are two kinds of people: Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your own way.’”
I was standing at the point of decision! My options were limited…
What is your attitude toward the trials in life?
Which kind of person are you?
~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America. Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California. My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.