EXCEPT THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD
It was the jewelry on old women’s hands. And the bright wash of dyed fabric. In this land so streaked with mud and mess, vivid marks of beauty are signaled by the delicate tinkle of bangles and the blur of purple and orange and red on scooters speeding by. Royal robes on peasant streets. Brilliant jewels on hardened cheeks. Rough and smooth. Dark and light. This was India.
As the taxi driver carved his way through the majestic Himalayas, I couldn’t decide whether he was a speeding menace or a highway god. This narrow mountain road fell off steeply to the lush valley below. There was the sporadic chunk of cement or bit of railing to impede your thousand foot plunge, but many times, the edge came fast and free. Nothing to hold you, nothing to save you. Except the mighty hand of God.
After exiting the taxi, I took the first steps of an arduous hike up the steep mountainside. Along with some Indian guides and Western brothers, we set out to meet someone. We didn’t know who and we didn’t know when. But we ended up encountering all sorts of people. A young boy with his own hand-carved god. An old shepherd with a severe speech impediment. An ancient wrinkled woman with stomach pains.
An ancient wrinkled man with stomach pains. Boys with cricket bats in open fields. Old men with their little brown cigarettes. People bent over with burdens so great they can hardly bear them. There were all kinds, all on different paths, and yet all the same.
I awoke early one morning while we were camping in a verdant mountain valley. The sunrise was far more than words or a picture or even a video can express. It was quite cool being at eight-thousand feet. After shuffling around a struggling fire, I took a stroll toward a broken down dwelling on the other side of the hill. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was used for but it appeared to have been inhabited once.
There was a door through which I could see the cold clear sky. As I stood there looking through that open door, I realized that this building was much the same as India. There is breathtaking beauty all around. There is artistry and craftsmanship in the building itself. But it is a rough building. It would be difficult to work and live there.
But there is potential.
Looking out over the land, I couldn’t see any of the people we had met the day before, had prayed for, had given medicine to, had shared the Good News as best as our feeble tongues could. But I knew they were still out there. And though the land is difficult, there is potential. There is an open door. And for these people, just like myself, there is nothing to hold them, nothing to save them. Nothing to ease them of their burdens.
Except the mighty hand of God.
Joseph Boyle is Creative Content Coordinator for Pioneers. He recently accompanied an Edge short-term team as they trekked through northern India, prayer walking and beginning relationships with villagers to prepare the soil for the efforts of long-term workers.
We invite you to connect with the unreached—through prayer, financial investment and even exploring how your gifts, talents and passions intersect with the expansion of the Kingdom of God among the nations.