Sometimes you do not expect God to work directly in your life even though you are actively seeking Him. I tend to doubt God’s power especially when it comes to using the little, the young, the unimportant, and the “easy”.
Friday morning, after riding in the bed of a pick-up truck out of the farm area, our group split into two different teams each headed in separate directions. One team was headed on an intensive hiking/ outreach trip to the West which had been discussed all week. When I initially heard about the goals of that team, I was very excited and could not wait to leave. Then I found out that we were going to separate the group into two teams. I knew both teams would be good, but because the second team did not have a direction at the time I really hoped to be put on the first one. Providence had other plans.
When the G Family, Rachel, Julie, and I caught the first angkot to the east I was unsure of how God could use us. We were headed to the far side of our volcano where there are hot springs and a hiking path to the top of the crater. I was sure our efforts in a local tourist location would not be as glorifying to God as the other team’s would.
The angkot dropped us off four kilometers (roughly two miles) from the point where the hiking path and hot springs began. After finding Ibu Julie and Ibu S an angkot, the rest of us started walking up the mountain on rough, rocky roads. By the time for lunch we were trying to find a warung that could accommodate five people. The one we stopped at did not stand out of the ordinary. After eating a hearty lunch of rice, egg, and battered vegetables we started to leave when Pak C introduced us to the girl who sold him water. Herma owned a general store right next to her aunt’s warung. She spoke English and wanted to be a business woman someday. After we left Carrie said that Herma was going to come hang out with us later after her shop was closed.
We spent time talking to people who lived and sold their wares all around the hot springs. We did soak for a while as well. Herma came up a little later and ended up staying until after dinner. Like everyone else in the area she is a cousin, but she loved hearing about the West and talking to us about everything. By the time I went to bed that night I realized God uses all time and every place.
The next morning we decided to conquer the crater. Ibu S, Ibu Julie, Carrie, and Rachel traveled by ojek, motorcycles for hire, to the base of a flight of six hundred twenty steps at the top of which you can see the crater and beautiful views of Java. Evan, Pak C and I hiked the four kilometers to the stairs. Once we reached the top we explored some, but much of our time was spent becoming the focus of several camera phones….
We headed home stopping at Herma’s to say goodbye. The four young ones had hiked down the mountains leaving the adults waiting for an angkot at the top. We found out later that most of the angkots in the area had been hired by the local mosques for mass circumcision parties. Needless to say it took a while for all of us to be reunited which happened at Herma’s house over coconut brown sugar concoctions. The final stretch home was in a crammed angkot over hill and dale which amused much of our party. For the record we hiked somewhere between fourteen and fifteen kilometers mostly uphill leaving many of us incredibly sore.
I learned so much I do not think I could have learned on the other trip because of my attitude.
God does not need me. He does not need my intelligence, my wit, my language, my appearance, or lack thereof. He does not need my faith, my thoughts, my praise, or my pride. He could, with less than a thought, undo all of history, remove me from His plan, or condemn me leaving me to wallow in my sin and shame. Instead, He knew my depraved nature and predestined from before time to save me by His Son’s sacrifice. He planned to use me, to break me, to grow me, and to extend His mercy, justice, and grace to me daily. He commands me to empty myself. The more I think about this the more I realize I will never be empty. The more I empty myself, the more He will fill me with Himself. What could be better?