After a 45-minute car ride on a one-lane road in the Himalayas, I am practically at the top of the world! Clinging to my camera, I step out of the car and deep into unpacked snow. My legs are shaky from the fast ascent. It is a bit hard to breathe, now that I am moving around. I follow the footsteps ahead of me making my way to the top of the mountain only a few yards away. Immediately I am tangled in a web of red, blue, green, yellow and white flags strung up by people who believe the prayers printed on each one might blow out to their god and bring peace. The colors are bright and beautiful, but their presence feels dark and weird as I stand in the midst of them. I weave through the tangled lines until I can get a view of the mountains without flags smacking me in the face.
Turning around to retrace my steps, I am blown away by the sight of vivid flags against the mountain scape, the natural pushed behind the man-made. It is definitely picturesque, but do I say beautiful?
I thought of a friend who had inspired me with her thoughts about God’s beauty. The most beautiful thing in the world is not a mountain, sunsets or ocean waves, but rather Christ’s redeeming work of love applied to a dark and sinful heart. The beauty is in people broken by the fall and reconciled to God through Christ!
I snap a photo, and then review it on my camera screen. I see thousands of rich, gorgeous blocks of color, blowing in the foreground. I take a deep breath, wondering how many people must have helped string up all these flags. There are thousands of them. With every photo I take the harsh reality falls heavy on me…
How long will these people put their hope in vivid flags, golden statues and rotten offerings?
How can people truly come alive if they never hear of Jesus?
I take these thoughts and burden with me down the mountain and now back home. When I look at these brightly colored photos from my visit to India, I am reminded to pray for God to redeem the unreached. I am challenged to live out God’s love right here on the other side of the world, and hope that one day I may return to see that corner of the world again.