Following Close Behind

Monday, June 22, 2015 at 9:39AM

This was a post from our last days in Goroka, Papua New Guinea. In the middle of our transition moving I just never got around to posting it! But this morning, as I was becoming overwhelmed with all the things I needed to do to begin our completely complicated adoption process, I found myself forgetting that God was actually the One in control...not me. Then, an experience I had in PNG came to mind, and after reading it, I found peace in the reminder that I just have to follow God’s leading and not be the one in the lead!

Earlier Post:

Today I drove alone for the first time outside of the few streets within the Goroka town limits. Jackson and I were making a trip to a village where our friends live. I don't typically drive alone that far, but now we had made that same trip a few times and I felt pretty secure about going alone.

Upon hearing that we were leaving Goroka our friends had asked our family to come to their village where they were going to perform one of their traditional Asaro Mudmen dances.

On the way there I was traveling a good pace since I was a little behind schedule. I didn't want to keep our friends waiting on us, so I sped up where I could. But mid-­trip we found ourselves behind a huge semi­ truck which was going extremely slow.

At first I didn't notice how much we had slowed, but then when I looked at the time, I started to feel impatient. After a few minutes of accepting the slow speed I decided I would try to pass him. But, as soon as I peeked around the side of the truck and moved the car in that direction, another car came speeding towards us in the other lane. I quickly pulled back behind the truck and back to safety­­even if it was slow!

After that point I decided to slow down and take it easy, and be content with getting to our destination and whatever time we got there. In doing so, I began to look around and enjoy the scenery, much of which I had never noticed before, likely because we were driving too fast to enjoy it!

As we got closer to the village the truck began to maneuver even slower to avoid the potholes in the road. And, in Papua New Guinea, potholes don’t really do these holes justice...they are really more like mini craters that could easily swallow your car!

At this point, I was very thankful that we decided to stay behind the large truck because I was able to follow his lead and miss the holes as well. And, I know from experience had I been going faster we wouldn't have had time to see them in advance and could have easily done some real damage to our small car.

As I was driving I began thinking about how riding behind the semi truck is a lot like following God. God wants us to follow close behind Him as well. Sadly though, sometimes His ways seem too slow for us. But, just like being behind the semi truck proved to be beneficial, so does following close behind God.

Similar to what happened when I tried to pass the semi truck, the same can happen with God and us. We want to “pass by” God's plan, maybe it doesn't seem to be moving quickly enough for our liking. So, we swerve out on our own, only to realize if we had stayed behind the safety of God’s shelter, we wouldn't now be facing a huge oncoming collision!

It also occurred to me that when we slow down and allow God to lead, He knows the road better than we do and will keep us from falling in the "potholes" along the way that we may not have seen on our own. The best part of following God is that when we finally release our plans to His and go at the pace He sets, we are then free to enjoy the scenery!

When we follow Him, He may divert our path and take us to places we never could have imagined, but most likely wherever He takes us it will be to places where He can teach us and show us the things we need to know for the next part of our trip. You never will know where God will lead you, unless you slow down and allow Him to take the wheel and guide!

Oh, by the way, we did end up at our destination..finally! We had an amazing time with our friends as they shared their culture with us. They don’t usually perform these dances but a few times a year, usually for tourists coming into their village who have payed for the experience, so it was a real treat to have “front row” seats! And, such a kind going away present from our friends who we are going to miss terribly!

Our friends from the Asaro Village before performing the local dance.

Legend of the Asaro Mudmen:

"A number of different indigenous groups have lived scattered across the highland plateau for 1000 years, in small agrarian clans, isolated by the harsh terrain and divided by language, custom and tradition. The legendary Asaro Mudmen first met with the Western world in the middle of the 20th century.

Legend has it that the Mudmen were forced to flee from an enemy into the Asaro River where they waited until dusk to escape. The enemy saw them rise from the banks covered in mud and thought they were spirits. The Asaro continued to apply mud and masks to keep the illusion alive and terrify other indigenous groups."

Excerpt from the "Before They Project."

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