Saturday, October 15, 2011

God's Peculiar Treasure!

The rain was falling, harder, harder. 
The lightning was flashing, the thunder rolling.
I was packed.  Ready to go.  I’d checked my gear two and three times.  I was fully prepared for my trek across Haiti.
It was dark and the power was still on.  It was a privileged bonus  as I was waiting to leave.  
Just two days before I’d gotten the message from Todd that he felt he was supposed to escort my family to Haiti. Arrangements were made to meet my wife and kids at the airport in Port, so at first I didn't understand the purpose of his visit, but I realized early on that if God wanted him to come here, I wasn't going to hinder that plan. Todd was sure he was supposed to come, God had a reason, and so I welcomed his coming.  

That same day I found I might be traveling by myself.  Patchouko wasn’t sure if he could come with me.  The thought of making the trip alone was daunting, and something I’d began turning over to the Lord.  I didn’t know how, but I wasn’t going to give up.
But then, in the morning, Patchouko arrived at my door and told me he could come.  I made sure I wasn’t going to interfere with his job, and he assured me all was well.  I breathed easier, thanking God for His provision through my friend. 

As we sat down to make our plans, I asked him,
“How are we going to get to Cayes?”
“Maybe we take a tap-tap?”
“Where will we stay until the bus comes at 1am?” I asked. Already I’d been warned that it’s not a safe place to wait.
“Maybe at a hotel lobby, some place that isn’t closed?” He said.
“Hmmmmm.” I said, thinking, ‘Well, God will protect.
Just then my cell phone buzzed.
“Hello Dan! This is Adrien.  I’m just wondering how you are going to get to Cayes?” 
“We weren’t quite sure yet.” I told him.
“How about I come and pick you up in my car at 11pm, and I’ll drop you guys off at the bus station?” 
I just smiled.  When we got off the phone I told Patchouko, and we both just laughed. 
“God is so good! Do you see how much He cares? Even about the tiniest details?”
“Yes!” said Patchouko.  “God has made a way.”

At 7 pm that night I sat down for some spiritual supper. I wanted to dig into a nice, tender cut of scripture before I left on our journey, to chew on it and savor it during the trip.
I read from Malachi 3, of this classic argument between God and His people.  Any mom or dad would understand this passage.  God is in this parent role, about to just lay down the discipline, and the people are like the little kids, arrogant, blind to their poor attitude, dignified in their rebellious hearts.  Everything God says, they question.  Oh!  How many times have I had a conversation like this with my own son! 
Father: “Your say your room is clean but it isn’t.”
Son: “Why isn’t it clean?”
Father: “You say you will respect your mother, but then you just  slammed your door while she was talking to you.”
Son: “I didn’t slam it, I closed it...hard.”
Father: “Didn’t I just tell you not to do that?!”
Son: “Not to do what?”

Anyway, you get the picture?  It doesn’t take long before it’s just time to lay down some good old fashioned discipline. That’s this passage of scripture.   

God’s about to just let ‘em have it!  But then he hears something...
‘Then those who feared the Lord talked often one to another; and the Lord listened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him of those who reverenced and worshipfully feared the Lord and who thought on His name.  
And they shall be Mine, says the Lord of hosts, in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My Jewels, My special possession, My peculiar treasure.‘   (amp version)
Wow!  At a time when I’m considering how we can best be valued by our God, and then I read this nugget of gold!  To think that I can be so valuable to Him to be called His Jewel, His peculiar treasure!  And why?  Because of my own success or skills?  No.  Because of my own training, my own abilities?  No.
Because I fear the Lord.  Because He looks into my heart and searches me.  I’m valuable beyond riches, when what He finds is genuine love.  Nothing false.  Nothing masked.  Just honest, core-of-my-being affection and respect for my Creator...My Daddy.

It was just after I’d read that and I was turning it over, that a flash of lightning made the whole house jump with thunder.  My phone rang.  
“Dan!  This is Adrien!” 
“Yes?!”  We were shouting because the rain was pounding so hard it made it hard to hear anything else.
“I don’t think we can make it!” 
“What?!?!”  I shouted, this time not so much because of the rain. 
“Go and check the river!  See what you think!” He said.
I hung up the phone, threw on my hat and my raincoat and hit the door running.   ‘No, no, no, no!’ was all I could think as I approached the river.  Before I was close enough to shine my flashlight, I could hear it raging.  The road I was walking down was a river of its own.  
By the time I reached the edge, my soul was downcast!
There in front of me was The Little River.... screaming past me with white-water rapids.  The Little River wasn’t so Little anymore!

Patchouko came down from his home.  He began to laugh,
“I’ve never seen it this bad!” He said.
“ NOT encouraging brother!”  I shouted.
“We have to give up.” He said.  “We cannot cross.”
My heart was sinking.  My thoughts were scattering, 
‘What about my family, coming into Haiti on the other side?  And I won’t be there?’   

I went home.  Patchouko went to bed.  Adrien said maybe tomorrow?  I lit my kerosene lantern.  I opened my Bible, but I couldn’t read any of the words.  They were just a blur.  I prayed. I prayed.  I prayed more. 
‘I’m helpless Lord.  I’m angry!  I’m cut off from my this...this.... RIVER!  ARGGHGHGHGH!’
I decided to take a shower, and then I layed my head down on the pillow, alone with just my headlamp, my phone, my machete and I....

‘I’ll never be able to sleep.  What now, Lord? What’s next? How?’
My thoughts drifted in and out between prayer, over and over.   Todd's purpose for coming was beginning to dawn on me.
Then the phone rang.  It was midnight, and Adrien was calling?
“Do you want to give it a try? The rain has almost stopped, and the river should be down.”
“ABSOLUTELY!”  I was already running, dialing Patchouko.
He’d been sleeping and he wasn’t thinking clearly yet,
“Can you come?! We’re going!?  Now?!” I shouted.
“Y--ye----yes!  Wi! M’ap vinne! I’m coming!” 
There in front of me was the river, still moving a great deal of water, but most importantly, PASSABLE!   It was like God had turned off the tap!   

The impossible became possible, and that was just the beginning!

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