When Your Underwear Are Stolen at Machu Picchu

When Your Underwear Are Stolen at Machu Picchu

A few weeks ago I took a bunch of guys hiking on the Inca Trail. When we arrived in Machu Picchu after the long, dusty, four-day hike I went to change into some clean clothes after a shower and discovered that my clothes had been stolen, along with my toothbrush and deodorant. The worst part was they stole my favorite underwear! I was ticked.

I immediately went into blame mode. “Who is responsible for this?” I did some investigating and think I discovered why they were stolen. It seems it was a series of miscommunications that led to a cultural, passive-aggressive move on behalf of some of the porters… but who really knows.

For the past two weeks I’ve been stewing over that event. It really bothered me. I’ve been seeking and praying for some deep spiritual insight into what God wanted to teach me through this tragic inconvenience. Last night I think I found the deeper meaning. Here it is:

Bad stuff happens in life.

I know, that sounds like a bumper sticker and maybe a little extreme given this situation. But seriously, we live in a fallen world full of miscommunication and hurt and evil. Bad and annoying stuff happens. I can’t take it personally.

This seems simple enough to accept, except for the fact that I regularly find myself thinking that the suffering and annoyances I face are a struggle that have been uniquely visited upon me. I complain like I’m the only person with problems. But I’m not.

I wonder if we might all be a little better off if we got better at recognizing that we live in a messed up world where bad things happen (some really bad things that are far worse than losing underwear). Rather than expect life to be easy-street we do much better to recognize that life is hard. When we recognize it, in a way, we begin to transcend it. In that moment we gain a little more freedom. And that’s when we become useful in helping alleviate the suffering in this world. We stop sitting around philosophizing, blaming, or complaining and start doing something.

Life is hard. Don’t complain about it – expect it. Celebrate the good in your life then go out and help someone who is less fortunate.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. – Jesus (John 16:33)