I Saw His Hand
I love a day that is graced by the hand of God. Or maybe it would be more correct to say, I love a day where I recognize and see the grace of the hand of God. Because I honestly believe it is there everyday. Undeniably some days His hand is more evident and on our furlough, in a hot tub of all places, in Travelers Rest, South Carolina…..we sat, with mouths literally gaping at God’s hand at work.
Let me paint the setting a little more clearly. We were staying with my parents, who live tucked away in a lovely community. There is a gorgeous outdoor pool and Darron, Jacob and Nathaniel were seeing if they could swim the full length of the pool without taking a breath. Darron was just surfacing after swimming the full length when a little (maybe four year old) girl jumped right onto the back of his neck, unaware of his submerged presence. Other than the shock and initial pain, Darron was fine and we didn’t think anything else about it.
A few minutes later we were sitting in the hot tub and the little girl’s father (who had been reading a book) came and sat in the hot tub with us and began to apologize for the jumping mishap. The next question out of his mouth was, “Where are you from?” To which Darron and I glance at each other with the understanding look. The look that says, “Ugh, do we really tell him? We are from thousands of miles away? In a land that few people have heard of or think it is Papua New Guinea, but it’s not? Do we say all that?” And before the split second glance is even over Darron says, “Well actually we live in Indonesia.” To which the jumping girl’s father, sitting up a bit taller, responds, “Really? I grew up in Indonesia!”
Now in an instant our new hot tub lounger had become far more intriguing. And that interest only grew more strong as he went onto share that for over forty years his father ministered to an interior people group. The city they flew in and out of in order to then go interior was none other than our city, Sentani. So as the timer ticked and the hot water swirled and our body temperatures raised and we had to sit on the edge of the hot tub with only our fit dangling in, much more was shared.
The story was told of how when he was sixteen years old and interior with his Mom over a Christmas break, home from boarding school, how his mother became very ill. For some reason the father was away and none of his other siblings were there. He tried to radio out for help and get answers, but tragically his mother died. The pain etched across his forty year old something face still spoke volumes of his loss.
We shared names of so many missionaries we mutually know. He went to school with so many of our missionary peers here. We shared advances in technology, in internet interior, in communication with the missionaries and medical teams. We invited him to come visit with his family. We shared email addresses.
And we all recognized that this was more than a chance meeting. The hand of God was orchestrating something much bigger then we dared to understand. And we didn’t understand it other than we recognized that it was of God. We also recognized that ----what are the odds? For a music pastor from Chicago and missionaries from Indonesia on a six week furlough to meet in South Carolina in a hot tub????