Monday, July 11, 2011


I sat, chin in hand, mesmerized by the candle flickering in front of me. The flame, dancing and swaying to the soft tune of the breeze, cast a soft light about the room. I watched it waver and flare.

As I continued gazing at the flame, I slowly became aware that someone else in the room was also being drawn to the light. For a few minutes it floated in and out of my line of vision, then centered on the wavering wick. At each passing flight it drew closer and closer to the flame.

As the moth continued circling, I became concerned for its safety. Those delicate wings of his were dangerously close to being scorched. As he continued to flutter around the light, I watched with fascination the perilous dance between moth and flame.

Suddenly, so fast that I was hardly able the catch what happened, the flame sputtered and the moth disappeared, becoming one with the object of his fascination. His irresistible desire to be near what he perceived to be the ultimate goal met in the ending of his own life.

“I sure wouldn’t want to be that moth….or would I?”

Now before you become worried lest I have suicidal thoughts in the middle of the jungle in the Philippines, rest assured. I have no such intentions! J But I was struck with two different object lessons quite opposite from one another.

My first thought was that the flame represented the things of the world – by all outward appearances shining and beckoning one to come nearer and partake in the shimmering dance. Fascinated and enthralled by the beauty we fail to notice the dangerous associated with drawing near and many do not escape without being scorched.

Following the first idea not a moment later, however, was the thought of Christ: the Light of the World. “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never live in darkness. They will have the light that gives life.” (John 8:12) As I watched the moth consumed by the flame, I feared the fire. It burned and scorched and took away all that the moth previously knew, changing it from what it was before into being one with the flame – a mere burst of light added to the greater light of the blaze.  

“I will be in them and You will be in Me. So they will be completely one. Then the world will know that You sent Me and that You loved them just as you loved Me.” John 17:23

To be one with Christ, to be consumed by His brightness, to be so completely hidden in Him that all an outside observer can see is the luminous, glowing, perfect fire of Christ’s love – that would be worth dying for.

That is what I learned from the moth and candle.


I look at the calendar with a sense of dread. In just two weeks, Shama will be leaving. Her unexpected early departure being due to a serious illness of her father, I do not begrudge her in the least an early departure, but the thought of being the only medical person here in the mountains does add a great deal of responsibility.

Not only am I losing a valuable nurse, I am also losing the only person in the world who can relate step-by-step what it has been like to be transplanted into the middle of the jungle where no one understands you, where you take cold showers every day, eat weevils, and trust God implicitly for every next step. 
I’ve been so blessed to spend the last five months with Shama and I am going to miss her sorely during the remainder of my stay here (until mid-November)! Just a few things we’ve experienced together:
  • -          Arriving in the middle of the night in Puerto and experiencing our first drive in a trike at night
  • -          A wild and speedy ride from Puerto to Brooks Point (where I became thoroughly car-sick)
  • -          Our first hike into the mountains
  • -          Sitting awkwardly around a smoky fire near someone’s hut, trying desperately to learn the language
  • -          Our first hike up to Emrang
  • -          Our first day of teaching in Palawano (oh my, how scary!)
  • -          Frying geckos
  • -          Running the clinic, getting up with inpatients in the middle of the night, being woken up for emergencies
  • -          Making friends
  • -          Laughing and arguing about how to dig weeds
  • -          Sleeping on bamboo floors

These and many other things I’ll miss reminiscing about and experiencing with Shama. But as I’ve learned over the past five months, God doesn’t allow anything to happen that wasn’t for the best all along.

Although we don’t understand all the reasons now for the meanwhile she’ll go home and I’ll stay here; but when we look back at the end of our time here on earth, (perhaps just as we are lifting off with the cloud of angels) we’ll see why. And then we’ll sing with all the others, but maybe Shama and I will sing in Palawano, “My God, how great Thou Art!” (Ama’ Empu, mebasag Ke!)