Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Trees

There was once a chapel speaker at my college who spoke on the topic of complaining.  A ripple of conviction went through the whole school.  I remember once hearing a student proclaim loudly when walking to class, "It's hot as hell, but that's what I deserve, so I'm not complaining!"

I don't even know who said it, but it goes through my mind all the time.  Because, well, I live in a place that is as hot as hell.  And this has been the hardest hot season of all my eight years in Tanzania.  It has seemed endless.  And 60-hour-a-week power cuts have certainly not helped. 

And so I grumble.  And complain.  And whine.  All those things that I discipline my kids not to do.  Oh, you usually won't hear me do it, of course.  But I think it.  And that's just as bad.  Because it's ultimately not trusting God, isn't it?  Just like the Israelites in the desert.  I can make it sound spiritual.  "Oh God, fix the power cuts, so that I can be more effective for your kingdom."  Ha.  Since when is productivity a priority to God?  As if he needs us to do anything.  Think Mary and Martha.  He's got more important things in mind.

You would think that after eight years of living in Africa, I would have learned contentment in all circumstances.  After all, I am a missionary.  ha Ha HA.  I get tired, really, of being smacked in the face with how interested I am in my own comfort.  It's easy to think that I'm doing pretty well spiritually, that I'm doing a darn good job living this life God has given me...and then He does something like take away electricity for 5 months, in 90 degree weather with 90% humidity.  And I am driven to my knees.  But I realize, of course, that there are far greater types of suffering.  I am not in prison.  I am not in Japan or Libya.  I am not in Hell.  I am only uncomfortable.  What an entirely weak person I am. 

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water...It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.

The last four days, the power has stayed on.  The city is holding its collective breath.  Is this the end?  The days are still blistering but the mornings and evenings are cool.  Technically, this is southern hemisphere "autumn."  But it still feels like spring to me.  Yes, the days are getting cooler instead of warmer, but it still feels like spring.  Refreshment.  Renewal.  Rejuvenation.  All the things that represent spring. 

It has no worries in a year of drought, and never fails to bear fruit. 

I thank God that even when I complain, He always, eventually, sends Spring.
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