In the early days living in the rain forest among the Kuna Indians of Panama, we were invited to join them in their weekly meetings called a “Congreso”. It was here the Kuna leaders decided village life and activities. Occasionally, Colombian woodcutters would join the group and then disappear down the Tuira River back into the jungle.
One afternoon we heard an outboard motor coming up the winding river toward our village. I could hear the Kuna’s running to the shoreline and in a few minutes they were screaming for help. The woodcutter had taken the motor covering off to replace a pin and had not covered the motor again. He had ducked to miss a low hanging branch, forgetting the blade was still open! The sharp edge of the blade had sliced into his face and the gash was long and deep, the cheekbone fully exposed.
As he cleared the 12’ river embankment toward our house I could see he was leaning on the men assisting him and there was blood everywhere! Within minutes the entire village was in our front room, whispering excitedly, each seeking the sordid details.
There is no exaggeration here! His cheekbone was protruding through the skin and the skin had slipped back toward his ear, leaving a huge gap. He had taken the only available clothe in the dugout, which was loose cotton, and packed it tightly in the wound to stop the bleeding.
He was now seated on the bench directly in front of me. He sat silently, calm and trusting. Looking up, his eyes inaudibly pleaded for help and my heart stopped for a second while I contemplated my next move. We headed for the rushing clear waters of the river to thoroughly cleanse the wound and remove the cotton.
My adrenals were now on steroids as I mutely cried out to God for leading and direction! It had to be sutured from the inside out or it would not hold together…I had sutured fingers, arms, legs (usually machete accidents), but never a face! Once the gash was cleared of debris, it looked even more intimidating than before! After a close examination and gathering up the necessary tools to begin this procedure, I laid everything on a cloth…and froze!
In that moment God spoke quietly to my heart,
“I have chosen you, Jackie…so do not fear,
for I am with you; be not dismayed.” (Isaiah 41: 10)
I picked up the tweezers and began to remove the last of the stained pieces of cotton before scrubbing the wound and suturing the interior. Just pulling the two skin flaps together was challenging, but the truth of the matter was…the scar was going to be massive and it was on a very handsome face!
It seemed like forever before I finally dressed the wound and gave him an antibiotic shot. He never flinched or spoke a single word through the entire procedure! My husband was sharing Christ with him the entire time. We prayed for his healing and he stood and left.
He was not one of the regular woodcutters that lived outside our village
so I thought I would never see him again.
Months later we heard an outboard motor coming up the river and to my astonishment, God brought that young man through our front door! We were thrilled that he had healed with no infection and the scar that was left was beautiful!
He was grinning from ear to ear and he laughed at my little faith!
I am often reminded of the day God “chose me” and told me not to fear, that He was with me and would do what He had called me to do. Since I am a person whose battleground often involves fear, God’s words to me are profoundly meaningful!
What would you say is your particular battleground?
Where are you struggling today?
Have you identified a pattern in your life that pokes its head up regularly?
Maybe it’s fear, anger or bitterness.
Can you hear God’s voice?
He speaks to you with
promise, rebuke and instruction regarding your battleground…
Listen carefully …heed His call!
~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.