As a child growing up in Southern California, we didn’t get much rain. When it did come, I enjoyed the variety it brought to my life. Rain meant a chance to don my seldom-used yellow raincoat and pick up my umbrella. My creative school teachers scrambled to come up with inside games for the recess period, providing a fun alternative to the playground routine. On my walk home, I saw streets and gutters fill with water, and the Santa Ana actually flowed like a real river. Rain added spice to my simple young life.
Now years later and serving in Papua New Guinea, my perception of rainy days has altered. This past month we have experienced pouring rain and poor weather. While realizing rain is essential to sustaining life, I would actually prefer a bit less right now. What was once a refreshing change has now become a daunting menace. You see, rain, low clouds, fog, and reduced visibility can wreak havoc for the pilot trying to operate in remote terrain.
In most areas I fly, weather reporting facilities and ground-based instrument landing aids are nonexistent. Much of my flying requires being able to see exactly where I am going during departures and approaches. Poor weather hinders this visibility and leads to flight cancellations, delays, replanning, unscheduled overnight stays away from home, and upset passengers. In short, bad weather is a pain!
Similar to my perception of rain, the way I see Bible translation work can be affected over time. At first we eagerly become engaged in this worthy effort. People and funds are sent all over the world. But then the reality and enormity of our goals set in. There still remain 300 language groups in Papua New Guinea with no Scripture in a language that speaks to their heart. It seems there are always more vital language projects than there are funds and people to meet the needs. Fewer and fewer people are coming here to work.
When I stop and consider theses circumstances, however, I realize that I am viewing these obstacles from my human point of view. When I ponder the vast resources of our God, I know these mountains could transform into flat superhighways. Unfortunately, in my work-a-day world I often focus on the limited potentials of man and machine.
At a recent pilots’ meeting we were discussing the weather, and then someone suggested we pray about it. The next few days were sunny and beautiful, and I wore myself out doing so much clear-weather flying. I think God does this kind of thing just to remind me, in his gentle way, that he’s got it all under control. He’s going to accomplish his purposes in his time, in spite of rainy weather and my limitations. Now, if I can only remember to pray, to tap into this powerful resource tomorrow … and every day after.