Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Hitch Hiker and the Machete

So here we are, a group of North Americans in a giant yellow school bus from Pennsylvania. Easy to see from a long way off. We spent several days in the village of Miguela. Each one special in it's own way. We'd go back to Frey to clean up, eat dinner and prep for the evening service. Then we'd load up the bus and take the 4 mile (30 minute) drive back into the jungle, up the mountain road.  It's a narrow road, with no guard rails. Really only wide enough most places for one school bus. No sidewalks, in some places not even a foot path.

To be honest I don't remember which day it was that we met the man with the machete. It was probably Wednesday evening. It was just another slow and dusty journey back to the village for evening services when we came across a man walking in the road toward the village. Carlos, our bus driver, opened the door and said a few words. Laughs. Smiles. Boom. The next thing we knew, we were plus one as the man hopped right in. He was in the normal attire: jeans and cowboy boots, with a thin long sleeve button up shirt. He had dark hair, dark skin and a smile.  That's when I saw it. Our new passenger had brought with him the biggest machete I had ever seen in MY LIFE! Casually our interpreter began a polite conversation. He was a member of the Frey church on this way to Miguela to lend moral support to the baby church. He'd been working in the fields all day, and went on to tell us that harvest was every other day and twice a week there was market. He smiled and showed us some large root that he'd been harvesting - it looked like a carrot shaped potato. "So the giant knife is for the harvest?" we inquired. "Yes", he said and then he chuckled and grinned as he added "and the snakes".

Now he had my attention.

Our new friend then explained (through our interpreter) that there are snakes, lots of snakes in this area. "But not in the village right? The village is safe? We don't have to worry if we are in the village, right?" was my fervent question. Simone smiled and repeated my inquiry. The man looked at me, shot me a pursed lip grin and then said "no, no, no." Then they spoke in Spanish. I didn't get the actual translation, but the general conversation on our end was that snakes in the village would not be cool, and God would divinely remove them for the rest of our visit. Now, it's not like I was skipping through the tall grass before, but from that moment on I walked on the path. More specifically I walked in the center of the path. I wanted to see that snake from a long way off. I wanted to avoid any of that type of Guatemalan company.

Of course God loves to show up in ways we're not expecting and on that day it was Collisions that spoke. There are SNAKES in my everyday life that want to bite me.

 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.  But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.  Collisions 3:5-10

These things are as much a danger to me as any snake. Truthfully, the danger may be even greater. These things can and sometimes do slip easily into my life. These are things I can justify from time to time. I can give them new names, tie them up with cute little bows and be surrounded by a culture that says these thing are ok. "The TV show isn't that bad, I can watch it and not think about it later. I deserve the cute outfit, new purse or new electronic toy. She said something nasty about me first. I have been hurt, disappointed or let down, so it's ok that I am choosing to stay seated in my anger. I am only speaking the truth." This is justification. This is me trying to make me feel better about the ugliness of sin that I have slipped, stepped or stumbled into. Sexual immorality, impurity, greed. The things that pollute my heart and mind; the things that fight for first place in my life. Anger, rage, malice, slander and words - the outpourings of the condition of my heart. These are my spiritual snakes and they are poison to my soul.

I don't want to get bitten. God, help me to put on my "new self" daily.
Renew me daily with Your knowledge, continue to transform me. Amen

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