Milk and Honey Magazine discusses how trusting God – even when stranded on a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru with girlfriends during COVID-19 – is possible when you trust God's promises, love, Bible verses, and salvation.

God Delights In You

Jennifer Harris

About a month ago, five friends of mine and I traveled to Peru. We had this trip planned for months and could not wait to see Macchu Piccu and explore the country. Coworkers would say things like “Good luck getting back” and “I would not go if I was you”. I’m someone who does not choose to live in fear, someone who wants to think positively, and I did not get absorbed into the panic. At the time we were leaving, there was 1 reported case of coronavirus in Peru. It was safer to be there than in the United States, or so I thought.

Arriving in Peru, my friends and I had a blast. We drank freshly squeezed juice, went to markets, ate Peruvian chicken, pet an alpaca. I even got to see a wonder of world. I almost teared up when I overlooked Macchu Piccu from what felt like the top of the world. I felt so in awe of the Lord’s beautiful creation. I was in such awe and wonder. Little did I know that day would be the last day Macchu Piccu would remain open to the public for the foreseeable future.

The next day, I woke up in the small town of Ollytaytambo. 20 hours from the Lima international airport. My heart sunk as my friend Anne said, “They canceled our flight for tomorrow. Peru is closing the borders.”

We googled the news to verify that it was true. Peru’s leadership made a statement late the night before that they would be closing their borders at midnight on Monday night. We had about 15 hours to react. 20 hours from the airport.

We immediately got in an expensive two hour taxi to Cusco where they had a small domestic airport. We thankfully already have a flight scheduled that day to Lima at 7:40pm. There were no earlier flights available that day – all booked.

When we arrived outside the gates of the Cusco airport, there were policemen with guns restricting people from going into the Cusco airport unless you had a flight that day. We would not have been allowed inside without our tickets. Dozens of people tried to fight their way through the gates to no avail.

We then frantically searched for flights to get out of Peru via a flight in Lima. I called my parents, I called my boyfriend Joey, I talked to my brothers to help. We were scheduled to land in Lima at 9pm so we had 3 hours to get out from that international airport or we were stuck in Peru. My parents went to their local airport, my boyfriend, my brothers, everyone was trying to find me a flight. Same with the other five girls.

There was nothing available. We’d find a glimmer of hope on Google flights, but I’d be full. Or it wouldn’t let us pay. Or a flight would appear good, but actually be canceled. Or it went through multiple layovers in other South American countries with travel bans. None of us wanted to travel alone. Right before we took off in Cusco, all of the girls told our parents to book us on any flight directly to America if they found one. We all took turns crying.

Milk and Honey Magazine discusses how trusting God – even when stranded on a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru with girlfriends during COVID-19 – is possible when you trust God's promises, love, Bible verses, and salvation.

When we landed in Lima, all six of us found seats on flights by the grace of God. Me and a friend on a flight to Miami at 11:59pm. One girl on a flight to Atlanta at 11:59pm. Three others on a flight to Fort Lauderdale at 11:59pm. 1 minute to spare before the borders closed.

I couldn’t believe I was going home, I made it out. God was just in time to rescue us. By the grace of God, I am now in Raleigh safe and sound. We left hundreds of Americans and other people stranded there in Peru. People that are still to this day, stranded there.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” – Psalm 18: 16-19

Can you think of a time where God was just in time to rescue you? Do you ever really think about how God delights in you?

When I first read that verse, my immediate thought was “me”? God delights in “me”? Why would God have rescued me? I haven’t been praying that much recently. I haven’t really been looking like Jesus in my interactions in meetings at work recently. I’m not as good of a tither as I want to be.

I think if we are honest with ourselves, we sometimes equate God’s miracles with us deserving a miracle. But when we read God’s truth, we realize that we never deserve God’s miracles from the beginning. We simply receive them because God loves us. That’s it.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son so that whoever believes in Him, will have eternal life.” – John 3:16

That verse doesn’t read, “Because Jenny prayed today….” Or “Because Jenny gave money to that homeless man today…” Or “Because Jenny didn’t curse on her morning commute today…”. No. It says, “For God so loved the world…”

I almost felt like I was indebted to God for what He did in Peru. For saving me and bringing me back home when I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I had so much fear and anxiety at the airport and I was praying, but was I believing that God could pull of a miracle?

And as I returned to the US, fear and anxiety continued to plague my soul and coronavirus was every other word out of someone’s mouth. It all overwhelmed me. But then I took a pause. The reminder that God simply loved me and delighted in me was enough reason for Him to rescue me. God simply loves you and delights in you enough to bless you during this time. Do you believe that today?

You may not deserve it. In fact, none of us deserve it. That’s why Jesus had to die for us. However, God wants to bless us anyways. And sure, we can sit here and complain about all the hard things going on in our lives: the events getting cancelled, the boredom, the loneliness.

Maybe, though, maybe if instead of ‘complaining’ to those around us, we can just give talking to our God a try. After all, talking to our God who is in control of all of this, our God who delights in us, doesn’t seem that bad right?

Maybe instead of saying, “I’m so bored and lonely”, we can fuel our hearts with “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34:18).

Maybe instead of asking, “What if I get sick?”, we can fuel our hearts with “I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26)

Maybe instead of asking, “When will all of this be over?”, we can fuel our hearts with “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Maybe instead of simply walking in fear, we can fuel our hearts with, “He rescued me because He delighted in me.” (Psalm 18: 19)

You see, it’s easy to get caught up in your feelings, but God is BIGGER than your feelings. He is GREATER than your fears. And today, like all your days on this Earth, God delights in YOU! My prayer is that you can find rest, peace, and healing simply knowing that truth today.

Milk and Honey Magazine discusses how trusting God – even when stranded on a trip to Machu Picchu in Peru with girlfriends during COVID-19 – is possible when you trust God's promises, love, Bible verses, and salvation.

Our dear Jenny has a heart of God, loves to hangout with friends, travel, spend time outdoors, and find joy in the little moments of life. She makes her home in Raleigh, NC.