We’d turned off the black paved road and onto red dirt. The four of us bumped along in the car, an impromptu family outing to see our friends in Bubanza. This was a workday for Claude. But the kids wanted to join, wanted to see what we’d been talking and praying about all year, wanted to see their Papa’s handiwork.
So we jostled side to side as my son pelted us with questions from the back seat. At some point Claude took a call managing the steering wheel, the phone, the cracks and clefts in smooth stride. In a quiet moment between his curiosities, I noticed how far off the road we really are now.
“Hey, do you see how far off the main road we are? This is the land the government gave our Batwa friends.” So far from the road, far from view by any passers-by and far (they thought) from the reach of goodness – my kids already knew this part of the story. But now we were on that road, making our way to Bubanza.
“But no matter how far off the road we are, God knows where we are. And He comes to us. We’re never too far…” I said to no one in particular.
How true. Life circumstances set us far back from the main road, so far we feel as isolated and invisible as the Batwa on that unseen land. Who can even see us? Who would even want to? But we’re always seen by God, sought out by the Shepherd. He hears our cry from the furthest corners and backwaters of life.
And way back, where the highway becomes a spec on the horizon, we can be surprised by God’s goodness. Who knew that way out in the far-reaches of the arid terrain we’d find wells with clean water, classrooms filled with books… a community springing to life, defying the gravity of this place. Goodness where you’d least expect it – a table in the wilderness with water and education and hope on tap.
Sometimes we don’t expect to see God that far inland. Who imagines God off-roading to get to us? But our God, the embodiment of love, has eyes that see and ears that hear. We shouldn’t be surprised to find Him far off the road, with us in our dry places. His goodness traveling far to find us.
P.S. The good news is that all these kids can drink clean water a mere ten feet from where we took this picture! They will start school in the fall in classrooms with desks, chalkboards, school books and teachers. And in case anyone falls and scrapes their knee – there will be a nurse on site with supplies to clean her up and keep her on the road to health. These are the kind of things God does in places where no one is really looking.