Orchids in the Ditch

In the jungles of Papua the men’s room is always easy to find. It’s located any place not currently being used as a lady’s room. And so it was at Sekame. No fancy signage, just a couple of bushes next to the ditch at the side of the airstrip. I had found the vital facilities I was looking for.
Landing at Sekame

As I looked down at the floor of the ditch, something caught my eye as being out of place. There, standing tall among the dirt and the weeds, were wild orchids in all their delicate, regal beauty.

Orchids in the ditch? Considered by some the most beautiful flowers in the world—costly, sought after, highly prized—and here they were, in a ditch?

The thing is … the orchids didn’t know they were in a ditch. There they were, doing exactly what they were put on earth to do: bloom. They proclaimed God’s creative brilliance, his love of beauty and his desire for us to be enraptured by that beauty. And they were doing this in a ditch, just as they would if they were the centerpiece attraction at a world-class botanic garden being ‘oohed’ and ‘aahed’ over by professional flower people. I pay way too much attention to the context in which I find myself.

This one followed me home for my bride. It’s now a part of our garden.

Am I willing to fulfill what God has me on earth to do when I find myself in some anonymous ditch in a backwater village deep in the interior of Papua? Or do I put in the effort to shine only when I have an audience of professional Christian people from whom I might coax an ‘ooh’ or an ‘aah’? Am I willing to proclaim God’s creative brilliance, the beauty of who he is, by producing my best work and allowing joy to rule in my heart even when all I see around me is dirt, weeds, and the steep walls of the ditch I’m in?

Thank you, God, for orchids in the ditches.

Nate Gordon

Nate Gordon and his wife, Sheri, have served with our aviation partner YAJASI in Papua, Indonesia, since 1997.