Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Backside of the Desert – Where God Speaks

As I write this I’m sitting underneath a tree beside the mud hut I’ve been staying for the past five days. I won’t be able to post this until next week, as I am at least 80 miles from the nearest cyber cafĂ©. No electricity, no running water, yet I was able to call my daughter in America on my cell phone. Remarkable.

One of the joys of being in the desert is the time I’ve had to sit, read and reflect. When I get back to civilization my thoughts will be bombarded with a barrage of information, some worthwhile and interesting, other meaningless and mundane. Not having television, radio, Internet or even a daily newspaper, I am cut off to the world of distraction.

My companions on this safari are Hiebert’s work, “Transforming Worldviews,” a biography on J.R.R. Tolkien (author of “ The Hobbit,” and “Lord of the Rings’) and my Bible. God’s Word is my compass, gives me balance and reminds me who He is and what He wants me to be. Rebuked, comforted, challenged, His Word brings me to the reality of eternity and moves my mind away from temporal desires.

Hiebert is all academic, which is good because it is in the field of academics and missionary anthropology that I’m down in this wasteland in the first place. I need to be in the constraints of the desert to digest all that Hiebert has to say.

Reading about the life of Tolkien, who was a contemporary of C.S. Lewis and a member of the informal writers fraternity called the Inklings, is pure entertainment. What’s interesting about this writer was that he was, by all appearances, a very ordinary man who lived a very ordinary life. What set him apart was that he wrote an extra ordinary book, which brought him notoriety and wealth, but did not change this ordinary way of life.

It’s difficult staying down here in the low country as it is quite lonely, hot, and I do look forward to reemerging with the rest of the world in a few days (and especially a long shower). But I shall miss the solitude of the bush; for it is at the backside of the desert that God Himself would withdraw to commune with heaven.