Well here I am again, out in the jungle hacking at trees with a chainsaw again. This is now my 7th week of full time logging and it’s still tough, unending work.

Our house is up, but our co-workers house is yet to do so we’re back to cutting big (read time consuming) structural pieces. On the whole things have been going well.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Week 7

Despite not wanting to leave Gerdine and Oscar behind again and feeling tired from the last trip still we’ve settled back into a routine. We’re not nearly as productive as when we have a 10 man team on the go, but planks are being cut!

Today though I had a moment. It needs a bit of background.

We recently purchased new guide bars for our chainsaws. We couldn’t find the right size or type for our big chainsaw, so we’ve had to break chain and rejoin it at a shorter length out in the field. It worked! And the hard nose duromatic guide bar is working great with the bodged chain on the big saw.

Our collection of worn out chain is growing…

The same can’t be said for the smaller chainsaw. We found the identical guide bar to what we had, so it should have been plain sailing – but 4 days into using it I notice that it’s starting to cut crooked. I check it out and sure enough, we have the same problem that stopped us dead last time. The bar has worn unequally on one of its rails where we’re doing all our cutting pushing the chain off at an angle and preventing it cutting.

Cut plank, repeat ad infinitum

The palm oil we’re using right now seems to be too watery and we guess it does make it all the way around the bar. We intended to use (and asked for) canola oil, but the palm oil is what arrived on the chopper. Such things happen in bush missions, oh well!

Upon discovering that our brand new guide bar is unable to cut on one side (we can flip it to use the other side – until that wears out) the rain started to come. Yesterday afternoon we were rained off. All together it amounted to a moment of despair. It was more frustration and disappointment then I could handle in that moment.

We were called for lunch and me and Rhett sat quietly under out tarp shelter eating rice and taro. I was too tired, too disappointed, too fatigued to get up and try again. I was done.

As the rain pattered onto the plastic I had time to think it all through. If the LORD wanted he could have made everything work out smoothly, and he didn’t. It got me thinking.

Milled logs sure are pretty though

Wouldn’t it be a really powerful way for God to work if those who believed in his Son enjoyed a life with zero problems or hardships? Who wouldn’t want to be included in that?

And yet that’s not the way it works; and it’s not the way God is. The Lord Jesus didn’t avoid suffering, he chose to leave heaven to love on this earth, and even then he went to the cross. God hasn’t sat far off from human suffering, but entered into it and shared it with us.

I’m reminded of these verses that pick up that theme:

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:2-5

Rejoicing in our sufferings? God’s love being poured out even though things don’t go smoothly? There are deep things to be thinking about here.

If was enough for me to get back up, file the chainsaw chain and start again. It’s supposed to be this way. God could have made it plain sailing, he hasn’t; and the Kovol aren’t going to see God at work through everything always working out wonderfully for us. No, they’ll see God at work when we endure the frustrations we could easily have avoided by not coming here and remain hopeful despite them.

I can’t say I’m eagerly looking forward to another day of logging tomorrow, but I am looking forward to another opportunity for God to show his strength through my weakness.


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