As many of you are aware we have just recently returned from Panama and I thought I would take a few posts and share some of my insights from this year’s trip. In the past I have done this from Panama but this year our cell service and connections to the internet were such that this was impossible.
After the normal frustrations of getting through the airports, claiming most of our luggage (we were two bags short) and securing our vehicles, (one truck short until the next day), we began gathering our supplies and retrieving our stored camping items. We arrived Monday morning and due to God’s favor in working out all of the necessary details, we were able to leave Panama City and head into the interior on Tuesday morning. After our eight-hour travel day we arrived in the late afternoon to the conference site on the San Felix River above the small city by the same name.
It’s at this point every year that one of my favorite moments of the entire year takes place. We park our trucks and suddenly from every direction faces start to appear that we love and yet haven’t had any communication with since leaving last year. Most of these people live in places where mail doesn’t come and the outside world simply doesn’t intrude much. We see little boys and girls that are a year taller and older. Panamanians and Ngobe wave and come in our direction. We share hugs and handshakes, gifts and greetings. Suddenly the weariness of two days of travel and preparations disappears as we try out new Spanish phrases that we’ve learned. In moments, it seems as if we’ve always been together and we’ll never be apart.
It always strikes me that there is another day very much like this that is coming some day.
After a long, wearisome trip, we will arrive at our destination. We will have spent a great deal of effort and time making preparations and the journey will have been a very long one, in fact, an entire lifetime. We’ll arrive and suddenly from the crowd, faces will start to appear that we know and love and they will come running in our direction. Hugs, laughter, and tears of reunion will abound. I suspect that for me, both scenes will include some of the same faces except for one. Suddenly, as I imagine it, the crowd will part and a face that I will instantly know, even though I’ve never seen it, will come my way. His warmth and love will be all-encompassing as he smiles, draws me into a hug and says, “Good job!”
I love the thought of both reunions. There is a group of us that will keep doing the one in Panama as long as we can so that the crowd at the reunion that is yet to come will be a huge, joyous celebration. My favorite thought about that heavenly reunion? I won’t have to get back in those trucks and leave on Friday! We’ll be together forever and ever and ever!
God’s made a great plan!