June 2006, Somewhere in Honduras
Barely a week before, he didn’t want to be here, but here he was, trudging up the narrow trail of a Honduran mountainside. Finally warming up to the idea a day or two before the Team’s departure from Atlanta, and with each weary, well-placed step, the young man was leaving more of his past behind and drawing ever closer to his destiny. The mountain he now climbed with thirty others was nothing compared to the size and scale of the mountain God was taming in his young heart.
In my wife’s quiet time the other day, she came across the quote, “Hurt people hurt people” and that pretty much summed up the bent of this young man’s soul. Hatred of God, himself, family and ministry was the fruitless harvest of deep woundings which set him on a course of inner and outer destruction along with the secret pursuit of the world’s stink. But miles and years of hate would supernaturally fall away like a mudslide and God’s grace was the rainstorm that would wash it all away.
The young man’s mountain was much like an iceberg. Most could see barely the tip, even his parents, but God could see it all. And soon, very soon, He would prove faithful to answer the prayer of those who cried out, “Please, God, remove this mountain and cast it from his heart…” (see Mark 11:23)
It was here, mostly isolated (only one-half of one percent ever go to such a primitive part of the world) and captive to the will of God, separated by thousands of miles from a mess he had left behind in Georgia, the Lord began to minister into the deep crevices of his pain. The Balm of Gilead (Jer. 8:22) began to take the fractured parts of this boy’s soul and work His healing into the tragically broken places. The anger that had eaten holes through his life was especially on the Divine Healer’s mind.
In the early days of the adventure, the young man journaled, “This is my next chapter in the Honduras trip (his third trip with our church youth’s missions team) and I am scared because I don’t know what I am here for…so far the trip is not turning out as planned. I feel like I am being attacked and for some odd reason I feel like I’m just as bad here as I am there.”
And then this: “Please God, do something! I am asking You with all of my heart, do something before I give up.”
On another day, as the journey neared an end and still nothing dramatic had occurred, Graham added these heart-wrenching words to his journal: “…The trip is going very slow. Maybe that’s a good thing but not now because nothing is happening to me. What am I doing wrong?…God, show me what you want to show me. Tell me the things you want to tell me and don’t hold back from breaking me in half…”
On the final leg of the odyssey, after descending seven thousand feet from the mountain home of an unreached people group and back into civilization, the wiped-out but jubilant kids were ready for some down time before heading home. Graham too, even though the why am I here? God, why don’t You show Yourself? kept thrumming in his soul.
Then, on Monday night, the Lord finally broke through.
(Check back in tomorrow for the rest of this story…I still shake my head in amazement)