My time in Africa has been among the most amazing experiences of my life. To be up close and personal with so many animals, working with fascinating people from around the world, experiencing life in the bush, trekking through the jungle, and bumping along the way (literally) but knowing of a certainty that the outcome will be so worth it all!
I have had the pleasure of flying in a bush plane. As we ascended, the plane lifted and fell, wobbled to the left and to the right, but when we reached our intended height, it became a smooth ride. The ariel view of the African bush stretching for miles in shades of brown, gold, and cream was a fabulous sight. What our eyes beheld was certainly worth the bumps.
I learned on many occasions just what is meant when someone laughs and shouts, “African massage!” For miles our landrover would jump and bump over a million rocks and ruts in the road. Every passenger bumped and jostled, too. A rough ride but when we would reach our destination, perhaps trekking a lioness, or perhaps to sit and find zebras grazing, or hippos enjoying rolling in the water, it was spectacular in every instance.
A most exciting moment was reaching the Mara river in Tanzania to find hundreds of wildebeest gathering on the other side. It was the time of year for the Great Migration. To get to our viewing spot with the speed our driver took to get us there, was yet another wild “African Massage.” We watched for a half hour and another half hour and yet another. Finally, one wildebeest crept down the slope of the bank; then, a second and a third followed close behind. The three stood together watching the water. Crocodiles are often waiting their chance for a meal. When a fourth wildebeest came down the slope, a hundred, then a thousand and more descended down the bank, jumped with wild abandonment into the water, swam to the other side, ran up the waiting bank, and divided themselves to race around each side of our vehicle. What an amazing moment of time! For forty minutes we watched in wonder as 10,000 wildebeest migrated to the other side in a wild dash of great speed — and we were in the middle of it all! What a terrific thrill and privilege to have witnessed this event. It was worth every hard bump to reach that destination.
Trekking up the Virunga mountains in Rwanda has been amazing! Our trekking guides were armed with machetes and literally had to cut paths for us. Tall, thick, green foliage was all around. A smell of damp lingered in the air mixed in with fragrances of wild flowers. Vines tangled themselves around every piece of foliage. My back and leg muscles began to ache with each step up and up and up. At last, after many pauses for sips of water and resting for moments to catch our breath, we stepped into the presence of the Silverback Mountain Gorillas. Every ache was well worth the journey, not to be traded for any comfort that would have otherwise been offered had we stayed at the bottom of the mountain. Avoiding the bumps would have led to — nothing special.
As we travel through life there are plenty of rough patches along the way. Bumps and bruises come to us all as we climb our mountains of difficulty and challenge. Even so, it’s the climb that makes us stronger. Then, when our life’s journey is over, we slip from this life into our eternal destiny where our Father will welcome us home with words of, “well done, good and faithful servant.” Every bump and hardship will have been worth it all and the view that awaits us is promised to be breathtaking!
“He knows where I am going. And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed His ways and not turned aside.” Job 23:10-11
The way is not always easy, but don’t surrender to hardship; takes God’s own strength and press on! The destination is out of this world!