During May we’re focusing on hope in God. Each of the posts published this month will be about the author’s experiences hoping in God. Please see the Prayer page to read our strategic prayer request for this month and to see how we, as a branch, are hoping in God.
By Brian Paris
At times when I have a request for God, I am able to give it to Him and put my hope in Him. I know He can be trusted to do what it is good. Unfortunately I too often think I know exactly what that should look like and lose hope when it doesn’t turn out that way.
My parents came to PNG a couple of years ago. Before they arrived I prayed fervently that God would give us a “good” visit. I didn’t know what things would come up, but I hoped that God would fulfill that prayer. A “good” visit to me meant uneventful. PNG can be quite exciting at times, and I didn’t want anything to happen that would give reason for my parents to worry about us more than they already do. Therefore a “good trip” equaled an uneventful trip.
One weekend we decided to take my parents to meet our PNG family and to see their village. We all piled into a borrowed pickup truck and drove off into the bush. We eventually left the paved road for the gravel road where we encountered the first wooden bridge. My mom asked, “Is it safe?” and I replied, “Mom, this is the good bridge.” As we got farther from town the condition of the road and the bridges deteriorated, but we made it safely to the village where we spent a wonderfully uneventful weekend.
After this “good” visit that I was thanking God for we climbed back into the truck to head to town. Creeping slowly across the first and worst bridge, I thought we had made it. Then I heard a creak and felt my stomach drop as our front-right tire plummeted down (if you can call a 6 inch drop a plummet). Regardless how big or small the drop was in reality, I was terrified in that moment. The car stayed on the bridge and we all piled out quickly. The rain the night before caused the boards to be slick and as we crossed the tire dropped when two of the rotting boards slipped from underneath it. Three tires were still on the bridge, the bridge wasn’t creaking or groaning anymore, and all was well. In a matter of minutes the men with us had the jack out and were using it along with a few pieces of wood they found around to hoist the vehicle back up. We had our fourth wheel level on the bridge within 30 minutes.
I drove the truck the rest of the way home and had some choice things to say to God about what “good” means. My adrenaline was still flowing when Dad looks at me and says, “Well, when people ask how our trip was we’ll just say, ‘It wasn’t a trip, it was an adventure!’” and laughed (a little manically).
I hoped in God for the provision of a “good” trip for my parents. Instead he gave us a good trip that was full of the unexpected (this isn’t the only story) where He kept all of us safe and gave my parents the opportunity to see life as it truly is for us. Sometimes our hopes are fulfilled in ways we don’t see coming, but our overarching hope in Him never wavers.
Brian serves the branch as a language surveyor.