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The God of the trash heap

I brought my running shoes to Mexico. Behind Bob Waag’s house is a giant trash heap – all the garbage of Matamoros piled into a huge mountain. It sits in a wide open field that stretches miles in every direction, making it ideal for running. So I run a mile across the field to the tras…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

I brought my running shoes to Mexico. Behind Bob Waag’s house is a giant trash heap – all the garbage of Matamoros piled into a huge mountain. It sits in a wide open field that stretches miles in every direction, making it ideal for running.

So I run a mile across the field to the trash heap and bear left. As I was running, thoughts were flashing through my mind. I’m in a zone. All the while, I’m running into new territory, not paying attention. When it came time to turn around and head for home, I discovered I was lost.

I began to run on goat paths past scattered trash, cactus, and sage brush. And nothing looked familiar. Panicky thoughts began to rise up in me – I began throwing out “Oh God, help-me-get-out-of-this-one” prayers.

And then I felt the Lord say, “Go back to the trash heap and start over.”

Much as I hated to back track, that’s what I did. And then peace began to come back to me. I recognized a dirt road and began to follow it home. And as I ran along, I heard the Lord say, “Whenever you get lost, look for me at the trash heap. I like to hang out there with the people living nearby. And when you find me, I’ll show you the way home.”

Afterwards I reflected – so often in life we find ourselves caught up in self-absorbed thinking. In a way, we’re lost. We look for Jesus and he doesn’t seem to be around. But every time I’ve gone looking for him in a slum near some trash heap, there he is, reflected in the eyes of a child playing nearby or some old crone waving at me. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” He hangs out with them. He makes his home with them.

Comment

  • Seth always has real insight and conversation in real time with the Lord, being a non-spiritual person I try to figure out post mortem what happened, kind of a non-military version of “lessons learned” when you can still see the carnage and smoke of your destroyed decisions….

    One day I went to the trash heap beside Haifa in Israel and watched the Palestinians pick over the trash on the Sabbath (Saturday), and I took along my Jewish/American and German/American friend with me. We couldn’t have stood out anymore on this “not your standard sight seeing tour” experience.

    I never understood (and still really don’t) understand what a “hot border” is like, but I kind of noticed that where Americans would build on the sand of the beach, Israeli’s built on the hill away from the beach, and this is where the trash is. Seems that boats from Lebanon occassionally landed on the beach and it is a lot easier to shoot up the trash heap.

    As it came to sunset we realized that there was no way we were getting out of this place in the dark (alive in our minds), so we looked up to the hill and in the distance we could see our hill, all we had to do was walk under the “bridge” that the railroad ran over (you see the tracks were very well secure with barbed and razor wire).

    The bridge was more like a tunnel, 4 feet wide and you had to hunch over to get through, thankfully the wire had been cut to faciliate the monetization of the trash heap. One of my companions nearly wouldn’t do it, because you see the bridge was actually jacked up by old rusting house jacks with cinder blocks as the footers.

    So we began our stroll through the tunnel/bridge and of course half way through a train came while we were under there and got to watch the flex from underneath.

    Eventually we got to the Hotel.

    I build too much on the sand, it is where the trash should be, and the Enemy finds it a lot easier to gain access to me if that is where I build my life. Getting off that beach can sometimes be a scary thing, because it isn’t the way I came in and it isn’t necessarily going to be easy…..

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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