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I remember when a young man from the tribe went to the “city” for the first time. Now let me explain that the big city that we are closest to has two traffic lights, and even those are recent additions. So you must not think New York City or New Orleans. This is more like a small hometown “city”. But still, this small town near us has many paved roads, many cars and stores, and the streets are busy with people and pedestrians. At night the stores and the town are lit up with lights. The town even has an indoor mall of sorts with an escalator. “Street food” is abundant and for very little money you can eat all the fried food and noodles you can handle. The young man returned to our village and said to Mike, “How does anyone in town trust God?” Basically, the busyness, the food, the clinics, and the ease of life seemed to him a perfect storm that would lead to complacency.
The things of this world—the constant influx of information, news, tweets, emails, Facebook likes, the streaming, the aisles of convenient foods, the restaurants, the appliances, the cars—can be such a distraction. When I am in town I find myself longing for the quiet of the jungle, the peacefulness off the grid. The place where I sit down at a table with my family and thank the Lord that we had sun today.
I thank God, because without sun there wouldn’t be enough power to run the washing machine, nor would the clothes that I washed get dry.
It seems like my spot on the mountain is where I fully depend on God, because there isn’t anything else to depend on. It is where all my needs are right before me, and though I don’t know how they are going to be met, I trust and believe. I love that place.
But not everyone can run to the hills, right? Our lives are to be lived in the world. Our work is to be done in the world. So I am constantly reminded that I need to keep my jungle perspective even when I am outside of the jungle. In Hebrews 11 we read about all of our heroes, about men and women who lived by faith, who endured suffering, who overcame persecution, who were martyred. Because of their testimonies we too can boldly throw off the things that want to tie us down, we can choose not to be lulled into a complacent state, we can fix our eyes on Jesus, our Savior, so that we will not grow weary or lose heart. Isn’t that sweet?
So to answer the young man’s question, a person can trust God in town. It isn’t impossible to live on the grid and trust God if we have our eyes on Him. So this is a lesson I want to keep learning. When in the US, I want to discipline myself to continue to see the reality of my dependence on God. I can choose to trust in the electric company to provide me with electricity, but that would be faulty thinking because ultimately that convenience is upheld by our God. I want to sit down at a table with my family and thank God for the constant 24-hour power that not only washed my clothes but also dried them. That is reality no matter where I live. Every good and perfect gift is from God whether I acknowledge it or not. May we ever strive to be aware of the grace and gifts God showers us with every day no matter where we are.
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