Volcanoes and Temptations

“Is that the mountain?” Kate said as she stared out the YY bus window.

“Where?” we all asked in unison.

“There! That dark cloud in the horizon,” she said as she pointed.

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There it was, Mount Elgon, a massive shield volcano dividing Uganda and Kenya.

We stayed at LaCam Lodge, which has U.K. owners but is run by local Ugandans. The lodge is built on the very edge of a giant cliff, right next to the famous Sipi Falls. That’s not a joke, we were 30 yards away from the mouth of the waterfall that is pictured on every Google search of Mount Elgon.

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When we were shown our banda, I almost started crying. It had a shower. Friends, I can count on my hands how many showers I’ve had in my five months in Uganda.

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The weekend was the perfect retreat. We went to a coffee plantation and made our own fresh coffee, we read books in hammocks, we hiked around the waterfalls, we played the most intense game of Skip-Bo, we sipped African Spice Tea while clouds enveloped us (also not a joke, we were that high up) and we watched the Kenyan sunrise from one of the mountain peaks.

To date, it was the closest to Heaven on Earth that I’ve ever experienced. We were given walking sticks for our hikes and I kept reciting Lord of the Rings quotes and Bible stories involving mountains that I had memorized for Ambassador Institute. I totally understand why Moses stayed on Mount Sinai for 40 days.

On one of the hikes, we stood at the edge of a waterfall where local women were casually washing clothes in the stream, 30 feet from a 60-meter drop.

Through a strange serious of thoughts, I reflected on Jesus’ temptation in the desert. In Matthew 4:6, the devil takes Jesus to the highest point of the temple and tells Jesus to jump because “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands.” Then he takes Him to a very high mountain, showing Jesus the splendor of all the kingdoms of the world. Satan then promises to give these things to Jesus if He will only bow down and worship him.

It puzzles me. Why did the devil try to tempt Jesus with those things? Is he stupid? Seriously, He’s the Son of God. Why would He ever worship the devil or even talk with him?

As I stood at the edge of this waterfall, I pictured the biblical interaction. I peeked over the edge, flabbergasted at the drop. I gazed upon the fertile valley, dotted with village homes.

I realized my struggles are never going to be over. The devil even tried to tempt the Son of God.

However, the devil is fighting a losing battle. One of the best pictures I have of that is in Genesis 3:15. God is speaking to the serpent when He says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”

What does this mean?

For context, enmity is a hostility or animosity between two things. And the woman’s offspring is Jesus Christ.

Here’s the cool part.

What happens when someone “strikes” your heel? Does it hurt? Of course. It’s like a little dog nipping at your heels. It’s annoying.

Will it kill you? No.

What happens when someone crushes your head? (Curb-stomping comes to mind here.)

You die.

Already in Genesis 3, God is sentencing Satan to death through His Son, Jesus Christ. The victory is mine. The victory is yours. The victory is His.

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10




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