“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
This verse, John 10:10, is the theme verse of the college Bible study group that I attend. It is also where the phrase on my t-shirt in this photo, “That they may have life,” can be found. I wore this shirt during our visit to the Atlantic Rain Forest not realizing what we were about to experience.
The Atlantic Rain Forest is teeming with life! Birds soar across the canopy, butterflies fly around your head, and the trees stand tall. Professor Waverli, our guide, explained the immense diversity of the Forest as it has over 20,000 individual tree species. Life in the forest is found both in the tallest of trees and in the smallest of organisms. The forest is interdependent, and its creatures rely on one another so that all may have life and thrive. I found the Atlantic Rain Forest to be a beautiful place, and I would have gladly stayed there forever!
While we were on our visit, I could not help but overhear the sound of cars as they passed by on the nearby road. Although Professor Waverli said that these sounds could not be heard within the deep part of the forest, there was never a moment throughout our visit in which only the forest itself could be heard. Life in the Atlantic Rain Forest extends an open invitation to all, yet it seems this invitation is often answered with busyness, innovation, and industry.
I realize that I don’t often choose to partake of the life that Jesus was inviting His followers into in John 10:10. This type of life is also an open invitation, free to all who choose it. Yet, it is one often exchanged for productivity and effort. It is hard to enjoy the slow, steady life of the forest when the fast-paced life of the world is happening close-by. Jesus came so that we may have life, yet it is so easy to miss the life to be found right before our eyes.
Although life can seem to move 100 miles an hour, I found in the forest an invitation to rest and enjoy the life in front of me. This invitation has extended beyond the walls of the forest to the inner walls of my heart. I am slowly learning that life is about abiding in the small and still moments. It is about accepting the invitation to slow down and be still so that I may have life, even when it seems it cannot be found. This is something that Brazilians do so well. They wake up earlier and stay up later than I am used to, but just like the forest, their days are overflowing with life.
I hope to move forward throughout my days looking for invitations to life like the one Jesus presented to His followers. I am thankful for this opportunity to slow down and enjoy what it around me so that, like the forest, I may also have life.