I visited my daughter, son-in-law, and four grandkids last week in Guatemala. My daughter, Heather, is a diplomat with the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Guatemala City. Along with spending time with each of my grandkids, one of the adventures Heather planned for me during my stay was to climb one of the active volcanoes. Guatemala has 37 volcanoes, and three of them are still active.
We loaded up the car and headed toward one of those active volcanoes. We drove for two hours and saw devastation after devastation. Due to the rainy season, I encountered multiple impoverished homes along the hillsides and almost impassable roads possibly still affected from the 2010 Tropical Storm “Agatha.” On May 29, 2010, this hurricane dumped more than sixteen inches of rain in a short period of time, affecting 412,000 lives and 21 of the 22 departments of the country. Just two days prior to Agatha’s landfall, Guatemala experienced a volcanic eruption, limiting search and rescue operations as well as humanitarian relief. Large amounts of volcanic ash covered everything, including water drainage systems. This devastating emergency affected 390,000 people. This was the same volcano I was going to climb that day.
After parking the car, my daughter and grandson procured a horse to ride up the 8000-foot elevation volcano. My son-in-law and I decided to climb up the volcano on foot. Once we reached the top, we then began a very steep descent into the belly of the volcano. Remember, this is the same volcano that erupted in 2010 and again in 2014. Gulp! Now deep inside the volcano, we began hearing the active volcano hissing noises and the occasional popping of rocks and fire. We could see steam rising from the lava rocks. For fun, my grandson roasted marshmallows from the hot lava rock crevasses.
In the midst of acres and acres of dead lava rock, protruding between the dark grey rock, I noticed a plant growing with a very colorful flower on the top. It was beautiful, and I stared at it for several minutes. It’s amazing to me, in the midst of loss and devastation…life continues.
None of us are exempt from storms or devastation. We all have been affected by life “hurricanes” and “volcanic eruptions” to some degree. We’ve all been even hit by the less-visible storms of life. God’s Word tells us to cry out to God for help.
If you are a child of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, God promises His presence, peace, and power through the storm. God is always with us. He gives us the strength and power to overcome. Beauty does emerge again.
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
Psalm 34:19 (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me,
you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
John 14:27-28 (NIV)