Wisdom from the Jungle
by Mark Robinette
While staying with my family recently, Pastor Naing Thang, of Myanmar, told us a story I’ve been telling everyone I can.
One of the pastors of his village in the remote mountains of Chin State, was a man who taught everyone the importance of a Bible truth. “In everything gives thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you.”
He stressed God’s sovereignty and how we should pray before we set out to do anything. If we did this, he taught, we could then give thanks for whatever happened, it was in the hands of God.
One day before he and one of the young men of the village left to go deeper still into the mountains to a favorite fishing spot, they stopped to give thanks and prayed for God’s protection and provision.
After their first day’s catch they needed to preserve their many fish by smoking them.
While cutting wood for the fire, the good elder accidentally swung wild with his machete and cut off his own finger.
Bleeding and in a great deal of pain, the old man thought to himself, “what a poor lesson this is for the young man. We prayed for God’s protection and this tragedy has befallen us.”
His finger was lost, and if he didn’t get back to the village soon, maybe his life would be too.
In these mountains there are a great many dangers. Giant pythons, Bengal tigers, wild boar, cobras and elephants who trample men when they can.
But there is one predator far more menacing. The head-hunting cannibals. They often slither quietly though the forest in search of human sacrifice. When the two men saw them, they knew who they were and what they wanted.
Terror stuck the hearts of the elder and his companion and they both ran in separate directions as fast as they could. The old elder was an easy catch for the cannibals. As they lead him back to their village where preparations for a ceremonial offering and meal were already under way, the man of God felt abandoned by his maker.
He watched as they built a fire for him and danced in the darkness. His heart darkened with thoughts of hopelessness, loneliness and doubt.
As his time came to face what they had planned for him, their priest came to see who and what the hunting party had brought to them.
He began inspecting him everywhere. Feet, legs, under his clothes and then noticed the wrapped hand and bloody stump where his finger had been.
The priest was very upset. Motioning to the others, the pastor could see he was not what they wanted. They wanted a man who was whole. His missing finger was some sort of bad omen.
They released him and motioned for him to leave.
As he made his way home in a sort of shock, at what should have been his fate, he remembered how he had felt toward God in his time of weakness.
He now understood, God had taken his finger to save his life.
Thanks be to God for his faithfulness to this man and the lessons it provides us today. May we indeed be thankful in all things, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning us.