Missionaries traveling deep into the Amazon rain forest will always be accompanied by someone familiar to the area. The Amazon is full of danger, even more so for an outsider. Did you know there’s something called a Bullet Ant in the rain forest? Its bite is so painful, it feels like a gunshot! Having a guide isn’t enough – you need to stick close to them.
In the Christian jungle, we’re opposed by an enemy who “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Knowing this, it becomes vital that we have an experienced guide who knows the territory. Jesus Christ has already faced what we’re facing and emerged victorious when, on the cross, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.” (Colossians 2:15) What good is having a seasoned guide like Jesus if we don’t cling to Him, but wander off? Without His nearness, we can’t receive the protection described in Psalm 91:9-16, where it says, if you make the Lord your refuge, “You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra.” Note, the Scripture doesn’t say we’ll never see beasts who mean us harm, but that we’ll have victory over them.
In the Amazon, it would be foolish to wander off on our own, away from our guide; yet, we wander off in life, not making the Lord our refuge. “And we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6)
If you’ve turned to your own way of doing relationships, finances, or life in general, He wants you back. In Matthew 18, through a parable, Jesus says He’ll go into the mountains to look for one lost sheep, out of one hundred! When He finds you, He’ll rejoice over you more than the other nine-nine! How do we come back to Him? “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8). Though we can feel as if we’ve wandered miles from God, and the way back is impossible, rest assured He’s closer than you can imagine.