Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
Thursday being Aymara New Year and all (the winter solstice is a holiday which nobody in this part of Bolivia could care less for -- but, hey, 'tis a holiday), I headed out with some friends for a spot of fishing. A meagre three bite-sized piranhas constituted my catch, but I had slightly better luck with the camera.
|This discerning capyvara only frequents the drinking |
establishments where there are birds to be found.
|For this part of Bolivia, that's a very green tree.|
|Ranchers at work.|
|A tiddler and a small fish.|
As the Incas celebrate their New Year, I've had occasion of late to chew over 2012's half-term report. As regular readers will know, the year thus far has had its fair share of challenges. The seemingly interminable issues regarding our house and sundry land complications, and the emotional stress of family planning, have re-surfaced time and again. Rare has been the week in which we did not have some kind of psychological break from either of these matters.
Thankfully, in the face of such challenges, our marriage has held up remarkably and is stronger for the experiences. And our resolve to not get bitter about all of it has largely stood fast. We count our blessings and rejoice.
Some days, however, are easier than others, and we are oftentimes led to wonder where this is all going, what's the bigger picture. Does it even exist? Mercifully, God has used a ministry opportunity to address some of these issues in a mighty way.
Over the past few weeks, with the usual participants otherwise occupied, I've stepped in to chair the Bible studies on Thursday evenings at church. After two years (!) we have finally reached the end of our study in Genesis and I was instructed to simply move on into Exodus, where, in the early chapters at least, the Genesis narrative simply continues.
And as I've re-considered these passages, I have been reminded that God is indeed at work -- and emphatically so. These verses can be simply yet conclusively summed up in three words: God is faithful. Consider the following:
- On the face of it, Joseph's brothers sold him to Egypt. In fact, God sent him there to save Egypt and, as it turned out, Israel too.
- The language used in Exodus 1 to describe the affliction of the Israelites is precisely that used by God when revealing his plan for Israel to Abraham centuries earlier, in Genesis 15:13. Thus, the eagle-eyed Hebrew reader immediately recognises that in the midst of man's sordid schemes, God remains very much in the driving seat.
- While the Pharaoh 'who knew not Joseph' of the early chapters of Exodus obsessed over wiping out Israel's male population, God in fact used 'the weaker sex' to completely undermine a king. (am I alone in detecting a prominent strain of gallows humour in Exodus 1?)
- And while we're on the subject, Pharaoh couldn't even keep his own daughter under control, adopting Hebrew boys and what-not.
- Finally, Moses' complaints at the burning bush that he is not cut out for leadership are seriously undermined not only by his lack of faith but in his life experiences. As Stephen reminds the Council in Acts 7:22, Moses, in his youth, was primed for officialdom. And where did this take place? At the very heart of Egyptian power. Egypt was unwittingly footing the bill for surely the most humiliating moment in its history.
A common thread uniting all of these processes is that the initial, faltering steps were taken many, many years before the true extent of the situation was made visible. And from this I draw great strength. We don't know what will take place tomorrow, let alone next week, and infinitely moreso in this culture than in our Western upbringings. But more than we can ask or imagine is currently being, and has already been, accomplished.
- Our fifth anniversary is the 7th of July and, to celebrate, we've decided to treat ourselves to a long weekend at a favourite hotel in Santa Cruz. However, we're going a week in advance so that we can cross paths with Malcolm & Liz McGregor. Old friends of the Murdoch half of my family, Malcolm is SIM's International Director and we're excited about meeting them next weekend. We are planning to leave on Thursday evening and return to Trinidad on Wednesday morning, however, there have been a slew of road blockades over the past week. Please pray that we will be able to travel.
- While in Santa Cruz, we'll also be paying a visit to the clinic and meeting Emilixy (the girl from our church who was recently, and very suddenly, forced to move to Santa Cruz due to her father's incarceration). Pray for these weightier matters.
- Last Sunday's afternoon of service with the youth group was a great success, with the church gutted out and, God-willing, the youth leaving the big clean-up with a better idea of what it means to serve the church. Please pray that a seed might have been planted in their hearts.
- For the Lord's reminders this week, through his Word, that he has an unfathomably great plan for us.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!
Craig & Amanda
P.S. No post next weekend but our newsletter should be on its way soon. Let us know your email address if you'd like a copy.