Quirks and Warthogs

9 Jun

Blind luck, coincidence, fluke, chance, accident, miracle…they all have something in common.  An event happens that defies the usual definition of our expectations.  It normally would not have occurred.  They are words we use to explain our incredulity.  Into this amazing happenstance comes faith.  But what is a person to think when prior to this astonishing episode, they have pleaded the favorable outcome, despite miniscule odds, in prayer?

Eleven women in our income generation program were taken to Camp Langano on a spiritual retreat after being with us for over a year.  The express purpose of the journey being; to take their understanding of salvation to a deeper level.  Very explicit warnings were issued by the camp manager for taking care not to lose room keys.  The expense of changing the locks would be added to our bill. 

Oh yeah, one of the counselors reported a lost key.  She had already retraced all the paths and searched the places where it could have vanished.  That afternoon they had spent some free time on the beach at the lake where the huge compound was located.  Nothing.  That night we prayed for a quirk.

Just after sunrise the next morning, I walked the trail from our beach house cottage on the lake to the lodge, perhaps three-quarter mile.  The purpose for taking this route was to search for the key.  It was a sandy, rocky trail through a forest of tall trees harboring black and white monkeys and black squirrels.  The accompaniment provided was the morning voices of exotic birds.  Along with the wild flowers, buzzing flies and the rays of sunlight penetrating the morning mists and thick foliage, it was hard to concentrate on the search.  The day before we had seen a family of warthogs on another trail and were warned that when they had young ones they were very aggressive and should not be even approached for a picture.  The evening prior at sunset, as we walked that alternate trail from our cabin to the dining hall, we had also skirted the football meadow where a troop of 75-100 baboons were having a sundown “practice”.  So the stage had also been set with an element of wariness. 

As I topped a short crest in the trail I thought I detected movement in the tall grass along the trail ahead.  I proceeded cautiously a few more yards feeling my pulse beginning to quicken but being unsure of what to expect.  Then out from the tall grass he strutted with typical pig-like chomping not aware of my presence.  A male warthog with large upturned tusks.  His nose was to the ground but then his head came up and as he turned his head toward me the chomping stopped.  More than waste high at the shoulders, he thrust his nose into air several times searching to identify the scent in the wind.  Our eyes locked.  Almost motionless.  The hair standing up on the back of my neck was undetectable in his sightline.

I slowly turned…looking over my shoulder…taking a couple of slow-motion deliberate steps with my focus locked on the warthog’s purpose.  Apparently satisfied with my intentions of retreat, he sauntered across the path and disappeared into the tall grass and trees on the other side. 

As my eyes returned to the path in preparation for a more hasty withdrawal (all-out-60-year-old sprint), I detected a shiny glint at my feet and the original purpose of my stroll fought its way back into my adrenalin charged brain.  There it was…the lost key.

4 Responses to “Quirks and Warthogs”

  1. mfiechter June 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Thanks for reminding us how much God cares about the “small stuff” in our lives. He is such a big, huge God and yet sometimes, He affirms His love to us in such unexpected ways. So thankful for His faithfulness to you as you serve Him in Ethiopia! We visited with the Schrenk’s last night and they expressed how thankful they were to spend time with you in Addis. God is good! We love you, Mike & Shari

  2. sarah f June 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    Wow, you really had me in suspense! Love the story, love how God cares about every aspect of our lives…lost keys and all!

  3. Linda Schrenk June 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks for the reminder…God cares so deeply about every detail in our lives.

  4. Ed Schwartz June 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Great real life illustration about a God who loves to surprise us. Taking care of the things we can’t take care of and trusting us to tell others that He is the one who answers prayers! Thanks for sharing.

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