Strange noises from who knows what came out of the jungle. Every time Janey heard the strange sounds, she looked in the direction of the noise and fell into the underbrush . . . probably disturbing the “who-knows-whats” of the African bush.
Earlier, Janey and a group of others had traveled for hours and arrived at “who-knows-where” and decided to have a picnic. They had been showing the “Jesus” film near Illoran, Nigeria, and decided to take a little break from the showings at a beautiful waterfall. Afterwards, they discovered the van was stuck. The group found several young boys (ages 11-14) but even with their help they were unable to pull out the van.
Eventually, Janey was elected to follow this group of young boys back to their village to seek help from the chief, asking him to send strong men to move the van. So, Janey was trying to walk in pitch darkness in a Nigerian wilderness.
The walk was life changing.
Janey trekked for an hour in pitch darkness through rough terrain. When she turned toward a startling sound, she fell off the path and into the bushes. The eleven boys pulled her out and, although getting very dirty, she did not get hurt. However, after several falls, Janey was highly motivated to stay out of the underbrush. Providentially, she remembered principles from teaching middle school girls how to play basketball defensively.
The principle was for the girls to keep their eyes on the stomach of the opponents who had the ball, then they could anticipate where the opponent was really going. So, Janey determined to keep her eyes on the bright white shirt of one of the chief’s young sons in front of her. Where he moved, she moved….with each step. By keeping her eyes trained on him, and refusing to be distracted and look in the direction of the jungle noises, Janey was able to keep her balance and stop falling into the underbrush. The path seemed much smoother! Eventually she arrived safely at the village and help was sent.
Afterward, Janey pondered how true these principles of keeping our focus apply to our walk with God. We often find ourselves in various dark circumstances with plenty of unknowns screaming in our ears. Often this darkness and the noises distract us from following Christ, our hope, our rock, and our salvation.
When we determine to set our minds on Him, walking where He walks and following His lead, refusing to listen to the unknown noises, we are not shaken by the circumstances that surround us. Often, these very circumstances bring Him glory, when we choose to follow Him. God often puts us in uncomfortable circumstances to bring Him glory. The trek in the jungle didn’t just teach Janey a life principle to help her keep her focus on Christ, the village also experienced a life change.
The boys were from a Muslim village. The villagers fed Janey and her friends and gave them water to wash with. The group made friends with the villagers and promised to return with good news. Later, the film team returned with the “Jesus” film in the villagers’ language. After watching the film, the chief became a believer, and then the whole village did, too!
The scary circumstances enabled the group to go through an open door to bring the gospel to an entire village! God was glorified.
When we keep our focus, we don’t miss the opportunities, rewards, and adventures God has in store for us! We all need to keep our focus on Christ, regardless of the circumstances.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” – 2 Corinthians 5:7 NASB
(This true story and faith lesson come from Janey N. and took place about twenty years ago.)