Welcome to the Jungle

Written by Geo Bowman 

Last night, as I was getting ready to go to bed, I checked my social media one last time. As I was scrolling down, I noticed I had a message from a former classmate from college whom I hadn’t seen or heard from since 2015. I was super curious as to what he would want to message me about, so I opened the message and was flabbergasted! Before I share the content of his message, let me backtrack and take you with me to my college days—one of the hardest seasons my faith has ever been through.

I had the privilege of graduating from the University of Costa Rica. UCR is one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America, so being able to make it meant more than just a chance for a good education; it gave me the opportunity to honor my parents’ greatest desire—to have a UCR graduate in the family. I was so excited to start my first semester, until I had my first class. I was welcomed to the jungle, a spiritual one so to speak. You see, UCR is one of the most liberal and progressive universities there is, so you can imagine what that would be like for a follower of Christ. Let me break it down to you: I had English professors that would bash God for “having murdered his son.” I had literature professors who cared more about indoctrinating students with queer studies than teaching Shakespearian classics. I knew of professors who would mistreat students if they knew they believed in the Christ. If that wasn’t enough, most of my classmates would nod their heads and agree with all these secular doctrines and philosophies. In fact, I particularly remember two classmates who would even add to the mockery and laugh in our faces, and one of them was my former classmate, J.

J was not just an atheist, but a proud one. He was amicable, but his fence was always up. Most of the time, our conversations revolved around class assignments and quizzes, or at least I thought so. In his message, he reminded me of one particular conversation we had about God in which I had asked him if he believed. His reply was a simple yet firm no. Looking back, I remember having many conversations with several classmates and friends hoping and praying one day the seed would find solid ground. As a follower of Jesus, one of the first biblical principles we learn is that of sowing and reaping without losing heart in the meantime. In fact, Galatians 6:9 reminds us that we should “not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Through this verse, Paul reminds us that following Christ is more a matter of perseverance and consistency than it is about instant gratification and quick results. Abiding in Christ is so much more about those seeds we plant when no one is watching and there’s no reward on sight. It’s the kind gesture to the stranger and the hard questions asked around coffee. It’s also the prayers we elevate for those who wrong us and the dishes we wash as we try to be good stewards of our households. It’s the late nights feeding babies and the lunch we paid for to bless the coworker who’s having a bad week. These things that remain unseen to the human eye are seen by the Father above, the One who sees what we do in secret and rewards us in public, not the other way around. 

As humans, we are so tempted to lose heart when we sow. Sometimes we even wonder if the reaping season will ever come. My days in the jungle (a.k.a UCR) felt just like that. Not only did they feel hard and painful, but also unfinished and unrewarded. But for the Father who sees and works in secret, those days were purposeful and fundamental. He used every single day to refine me and to water the seeds that were planted in my classmates’ hearts. J is a great testimony of that. Seven years later, J found me on Instagram not only to tell me he had come to the saving knowledge of Jesus, but also to encourage me not to lose heart because those seeds, the ones I thought had drowned, had found solid ground. 

I hope this testimony encourages you, dear reader, to not lose heart. The reaping season is near! Your jungle might look a little different than mine, but remember our Father in heaven remains the same. May we be found faithful doing what He has called us to do—sowing seeds. May we never forget that He is the one who prepares the soil, waters the seed, and brings the increase. Whatever seed you have in your hand, sow it believing it will find solid ground even in the jungle.  

1 Comment

Archie Horton - May 23rd, 2022 at 10:46am

May God judge me for the thousands of little things that I do for Christ's Sake that no one every Sees or hears about and not the two or three big things that everyone knows about.