The early morning rays of the sun have begun to beam through the small windows on the right side of the airplane. Its bright light has arrested my attention. My flight departed San Jose in Costa Rica, Central America just after sunrise. I am scheduled to land in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where I will change planes and begin my last leg to the St. Louis airport.
After eight days abroad, I’m glad to be going home. I have greatly missed my family, my church, my own bed, and central air-conditioning. (Everyday comforts seem to be those things that we take for granted when we have them and sorely miss them when we don’t.) Strangely though, the thoughts running through my mind on this bright new morning are balanced equally on what lies ahead and on what lies behind. The past days have provided so many diverse opportunities that I am sure I will be months sorting through both memories and emotions.
My mind keeps rehearsing the vastness and infinity of God and how His people reflect that diversity. So much of what I have encountered in Costa Rica was new, different, and unknown to me. Customs, language, food preferences, buildings, and types of businesses beckoned to me constantly, as though to persuade me that they had a story to tell unlike anything that I had ever heard. They were testifying accurately and I was listening attentively. My hosts graciously answered my countless questions as they transported me from their small town into major cities, along country roads and one-lane bridges to the capital city with its seat of government, past centuries’ old structures into new and modern malls. I inquired of them continually; they informed me patiently.
Yet as I sit here, I am reminded that God is also unified and consistent; and His people reflect that unity. I experienced numerous circumstances that were familiar and well-known to me. Having been invited to Costa Rica to minister at a pastors’ conference, I had the honor of meeting and praying with many servants of God who tend to and love their congregations just as we do in the states. My accommodations were in the home of a local resident. Night after night, I sat at the dinner table with a family whose patterns of relating, tales of daily adventures, and dreams of future aspirations paralleled those expressed at my family’s nightly meal. I laughed with their children, admired photographs that encapsulated their family history, and joked with their neighbor who dropped by for fellowship.
Warm tears of affection flow down my face as I pen these words. Scripture tells me that God’s creation constantly tells the story of His power and His character. Mountains and oceans, sun and stars, or plants and animals continually testify to the wonder and wisdom of the One who fashioned them and gave order and meaning to their existence. But this morning, I hear my Creator’s story through His most grand creation – the people of the earth. English-speaking North Americans and Spanish-speaking Central Americans communicate God’s diversity and consistency, His variety and congruity, His novelty and harmony. This morning my heart and mind are reveling in the tale of God’s glory as told by the wonderfully-created, marvelously-fashioned, and remarkably-made people that I have had the honor to meet and know. Thank you, Lord, for this awesome trip to Costa Rica. Thank you also for home.