Hosted by Charleston, Costa Rica
Do you believe that the beauty of nature testifies of God's magnificence? Read this exciting story and you will agree with the apostle Paul that even though we cannot see God or the spiritual world, "the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead..." (Romans 1:20--KJV).
This Adventure to Baru Falls,
Costa Rica, Was Exciting and Inspirational
written by charles h. clever
"No thanks, John," I said. "I was raised with horses, and need the exercise. Let someone else ride to the falls."
John motioned to a young blond from Oregon. She quickly accepted the challenge and the group began their descent to the valley below.
In the distance we could hear the Baru River singing in a baritone voice--or was it a tenor's?--as it obeyed gravity's command and rushed gurgling, foaming, sparkling, drifting, on its journey to the Pacific Ocean--then to the clouds above and back to the earth in an endless cycle that sustains life in earth's delicate biosphere, and especially in this tropical rain forest.
An amazingly beautiful butterfly floated by, its body rising, then falling, in a staccato rhythm that harmonized with its turquoise-blue wings. It recalled to memory our Biology class' experiment with different colored map pins scattered on brown sand. Charles Darwin boldly claimed that evolution required the fittest to adapt in order to exist, and like predators, we easily found the bright colored pins while missing many of the brown ones. This graceful butterfly defies Darwin's theory which aptly explains the survival of the fittest, but not their arrival. Its color is not rivaled by the opening in the clouds revealing the bright blue expanse beyond. It testifies of the Master Artist's goodness--beauty that was designed especially for mankind's enjoyment. It's brilliancy and vulnerability defies extinction, and this treasure is an art masterpiece, a remnant from Eden and painted by our magnificent Creator.
A mariposa, shiny and black as coal, pecked vigorously on a ripe yellow banana hanging from a large cluster suspended perfectly from a banana tree alongside the road. This spectacular bird, named for the butterfly, whose beauty it mimics, also testifies of our Creator's love for humanity. Vested like a tuxedoed groom, its matching grey-white and peacock-blue trimmings make it a visible prey for predators, but the tropics provide a natural habitat where obvious beauty comes from God's hand and survives on our planet ravaged by death, pain, and destruction. It, too, defies extinction.
My rubber boots indented the moist, rich, soil on the jungle's fertile surface. For a brief moment I recalled my semester of Cultural Anthropology and wondered, Exactly how many feet have trod this mountain slope in eons past. The natives were undoubtedly born and birthed, sucked and suckled, played, hated, hunted, planted, loved, procreated, aged, then returned to the forest's soil to bring life and nourishment to other biological forms. Trying to please a mystical god, they fashioned rock statues in their vain attempt to offer that perfect sacrifice to please this unseen deity and earn a happy life and bountiful harvest.
I trudged through a small stream, over a rise, then another stream, and marveled like a naturalist. Orchids were suspended from host trees among tropical plants that I had never seen in literature, but others were recognizable inside homes in my native Northern Hemisphere where the rigors of harsh winters would ensure their mortality outside. In this tropical rain forest they flourished with different colored flowers and splendidly decorated foliage. They, too, will live until time calls them to nourish the soil from which they came.
The intense roar of Baru Falls told us we had arrived. The jungle's foliage parted like Carnage Hall's curtains revealing fast-flowing water surging around large granite rocks, flat like a table, from which we would soon descend. I clung tenaciously to a sturdy vine and peered over the steep ledge at the crashing water. It landed briefly in a pond far below, rushed over another ledge and down to the next pond, then to another.
My mind drifted for a moment. The beauty and ravages of nature not only testify of God's goodness, but of an intense conflict on this one rebellious planet in God's perfect universe. No! Man could never offer the perfect sacrifice--God would! Giving His Equal a human body, It, too, would exist amid suffering, hatred, love, temptation, and death. It would be the perfect sacrifice, so not only humanity, but the whole creation would one day be restored to the perfection, the unity, and eternity, of His original design. God's Son would suffer the penalty of disobedience, the only solution possible--the innocent One dying for the guilty ones. And this sacrifice met God's demand for sinlessness. He knows that the harmony of His universe requires perfect obedience by all of His children. They must love, trust, understand, and obey His laws. Stunted, weakened, perverted, mankind is enabled by God living within them. And they can fit into His immaculate universe only by the innocent One's benevolence--His perfection, His substitution. And this cursed planet will one day be exalted, the least becoming the greatest, the vilest--the most righteous; the corruptest--the most honored; when God's Holy City will be here, creation renewed, and this plagued celestial ball exalted as the new Capitol of the endless galaxies of His vast creation. God will reign here and "His name will be called Emmanuel... meaning God with us" (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 2:23).
"Put this on!" commanded Miguel, returning me to reality. He handed me the repelling harness--it would link me to the large nylon rope--my lifeline. "We're going down there--that's where we will have lunch and spend the day." His finger pointed downward in the direction of the largest pool.
Miguel was fluent in English, as were the other guides. He is a Central American who traveled to New York looking for his abandoning mother. Internal stress would drive Miguel to the streets with filth, hunger, cold, drugs and sin. Returning to Costa Rica, his life, ever spiraling downward, echoed the vices of the United States, only now he lived in tourist towns. Hangovers, drug highs, illicit sex, loud and wild parties with needles, pimping, you name it! Miguel needed out--he needed the Savior.
Miguel chatted with a luminous smile accented by the bright sun reflecting off his freshly shaved head and lean, muscular, shoulders. He resembled Yule Brenner in the prime of his hollywood glory, but Miguel's happiness was not in his glory, but in his Deliverer. He and a dozen other "losers" had gone "cold turkey" at John's ranch house which is now converted to a clubhouse. Alone without drugs or alcohol in the tropical wilderness--with only each other and food, a Bible, prayers... and God. Our loving Father listened to their pleas for help, and called them to the rescue of Calvary. Now they are free! And hope for the glory of an immaculate future. Yes, a future world without vices, sickness, crying, and mortality--without the relentless recycling of nature through life, death, and decay. The other guides, Pedro and Drew, also testify of similar victory. They enthusiastically guide excursions while speaking of that hope--they love their Deliverer.
At retirement age I never suspected myself capable of repelling a 12-story-high cliff to a rocky platform near the first bubbling pool below, but after three instructors meticulously explained and demonstrated the equipment, how it works, and the safety involved, I was ready to try. They even had one man for a "safety" at the bottom to stop my descent should I faint or become confused. There was also an emergency rope, just in case help was needed, and if I was unsure, a guide would have accompanied me on a third rope--just to make me feel safe by his presence.
It was so exciting, and I felt confident knowing that my rope was fully tested and strong enough to suspend a horse. Steve Fergason, another retiree, and I initially descended an almost vertical ledge for about 75 feet (24 meters). You will notice that this cliff curves inward near the bottom. To retain our footing, we worked our way to the right through the refreshing spray from a small tributary of the main stream. The sparkling water gently massaged our skin like the skilled hands of a well-trained and energetic masseuse--it was another of many "high-points" on our descent.
After crossing the spray's mainfo rce, I remembered someone was perched on a vantage point near the large waterfall to take my picture. Yes, that is me waving--my blood was surging like the descending water and this shot immortalized by valor. We repelled another twenty feet (6 meters), or so, and found that area also curved inward. They had informed us not to worry if we found ourselves dangling in mid-air. And dangling I was--just like a television stuntman. I cautiously lowered myself the last 30 feet (9 meters) while slowly rotating like a fluttering wind chime.
Yes, I'll have to admit, it was exciting. And my pride heightened from the accomplishment. A young lady, still dainty from a sheltered life, enjoyed her first repelling adventure to the extent that she hiked the jungle path to the top and repelled again. We retired gentlemen stayed below and re-lived our experience by watching others descend, then we all played like children in the deep ponds that are perpetually renewed from the effervescing river. We chatted like adolescents just stepping off the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland and enjoyed our luncheon which included sandwiches and fresh fruits.
Back at the clubhouse we all talked excitedly and knew this was an apex--one of life's greatest moments--one that we would treasure eternally. I want to thank John Chapman for organizing this tour. The guides were all Christian gentlemen, and they do not want anyone to miss this adventure, so the charge is nominal. I knew from a Colorado River rafting adventure in the U.S. that similar all-day excursions would cost at least $40, and with horses, even more. They graciously accepted my payment to help with their immense expenses.
Yes, I really enjoyed this adventure and recommend it for you and your friends while on vacation in Costa Rica, contact John by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps we will make the trip together--I do plan on doing it again someday. I also appreciated the fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters. At the clubhouse we excitedly shared highlights of our faith and I explained significant points about my book, The Wise Shall Understand.