Everyone in the van was holding his or her breath. We pulled the right side mirror in, and still it scraped the rocky mountainside as we crept up the narrow winding road. I was sitting behind the driver, my husband—the guy who hates heights. When I tried to see the road out of the side window, I could only see a sheer drop into the deep valley below. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and now, I was afraid of heights.
Our group came from a mission outside of Mexico City to set up a medical clinic in a mountain village. We were looking for a place to worship together and to share in the Lord’s Supper before we arrived at our destination. The people of this village did not like “evangelicals”. In fact, our contact from the village warned that we must always be out before dark because it could become dangerous. Their previous experiences with missionaries had convinced them that outsiders said they wanted to help them but always wanted their money, or their vote. So we moved slowly and carefully, not just in the van, but also in our evangelistic efforts. Since this was one of the earlier visits, we did not have services with the villagers.
We wound around the mountain until we found a spot wide enough to pull off and actually get out of the van without jumping into thin air. One tall tree graced the patch of solid ground. How it hung on to the side of the hill was a mystery. There we stood in a circle and remembered the One who gave his life for us. We remembered the body and the blood he sacrificed “for the joy” to come.
Heartfelt prayer for each other and for the people we would touch that day closed our time alongside the road. We had learned about the generally poor health of these people. We prayed for wisdom in helping them with their problems, that the medications we had packed along would be sufficient. However, the more serious problem was the problem of sin, and we also prayed for their souls. Finally, we asked for safety on that treacherous road.
The line of patients had started forming long before we got there. As we pulled up to the building where the clinic would take place the line snaked back and forth in front of the building. Some had walked on steep mountain paths for hours to get there. We knew it would be a hard day, but we belonged to Jesus and we had already remembered that Jesus had traveled a treacherous road to bless us. We wanted to bring joy to Him. It was our joy to bring the good news to these people, and if hours of service would help them find eternal healing, this would be our service to Him.
Now a growing church is located in that village, as well as in the next village. Men and women come together and worship the same Lord and Savior that we do. They share the Lord’s Supper together, singing his praises, clapping their hands, playing their tambourines. The Lord may have had this work and others like it in mind when he inspired Isaiah to pen this prophecy.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the fields will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:8-12 (ESV)