Thanks to generous grandparents . . we were able to spend our two-day family get-away goodbye in a place that perhaps mirrors the beauty of the house of God more than most. When we settled in on Wednesday afternoon, I pulled out my Bible and my Psalm for the day was Ps 84. As I read it, on the porch of an immaculate tent overlooking pristine wilderness, flocks of greater striped sparrows swooped through the brush and in and out of the eaves of the roof, a perfect picture of this psalm. That caught my attention . . surely the courts of the Lord would be characterized by good food, cold drinks, space, family, trilling birds, glimpses of wild animals, symmetry and order and tasteful, restful loveliness. And the fortunate sparrows enjoy this all day, every day, while we long for it on our journeys. It's not wrong to feel a sense of release and peace when wilderness and luxury intersect. It is the home for which our souls were programmed in eternity past, the Garden and the City of God.
The middle of the psalm though acknowledges where we are now: hearts set on pilgrimage. Passing through the valley of weeping until those tears become springs of blessing and life. Moving towards our goal, God, His presence, through a world that contains tastes and promises but not ever quite the real thing.
Our 48 hours in the Semliki Valley were ones of blessing. The reserve was practically ours alone. We had long hours of conversation in the pool and beside it, on the porches, around the table. Spectacular lightening rolled in while we were on a game drive, blowing cool wind. The stuffy hot months melted into rain that night, a change in the atmosphere, a reminder of God's mercies, refreshment. The thousand days of separations and struggles were forgotten in the one day of quiet and fellowship.
And we left, hearts re-set for the pilgrimage ahead.