I've been reading Mike Cope's book, Megan's Secrets. Mike Cope was the preacher for my church growing up and his wife was a mentor of mine. The book is about the life and death of their mentally disabled daughter and what she taught Mike about life. I have enjoyed remembering Megan, who was just a couple years older than me. I remember one time when my mom wanted me, as a 7 year old at the time, to understand God better, so she took me to stop by and visit Megan. I didn't understand it at the time, I thought perhaps I was suppose to be “doing a good deed” for Megan. What I later realized was I was the one who was being taught by Megan and by my mother. I had been the recipient of the good deed.
Mike refers to the idea of "waiting" in his book. I have been thinking about this idea of waiting this morning. Waiting is something that our American culture struggles with—we’ve got to learn how to wait, to practice waiting. As I look to see the fingerprints of God here in Zambia, in the Kaonde tribe, I notice that waiting is a God-given trait that they have accomplished. These people could wait all day long...and more. I have lived here for over a year now and am still shocked every day by how they can wait. They don’t have vehicles so they don’t mind waiting all day long for a taxi or for a truck to drive by that may or may not give them a ride. They don’t mind waiting to start church for an hour or two if they know their family members are still on the way. They don’t mind waiting on food to be prepared- every meal they eat takes about 1 ½ hours to prepare. So why is it that they can have the patience to wait and I can’t? I think of the verse in Romans, “Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” This is a gift that can go unseen, but it speaks to those who may have little possessions but have much to hope for. In Mumena, Zambia there is a lot of waiting going on. I tell Jeremy over and over, I think what I have learned most (out of a very long list of things) has been the baby steps of learning patience and the art of waiting. Nothing happens fast here. We have had a broken truck for the past 6 months and guess what...it is still broken. It is a minor problem that could be fixed in the states within one visit to Toyota, but not here. Even when Jeremy and I went to the capital city which is suppose to be modern, the power went off on us in a movie theater, our first chance to see a movie in a long, long time. It didn’t come back on for several hours. I leaned over and told Jeremy, “if we were in the states, people would be extremely mad right now.”
I am thankful that God has me practicing patience, has me stopping to wait. After 4 pm here each day, everyone goes home to their huts in the bush. All of the lights go off, and there is nothing left to do. Sometimes you are just waiting for the night to be over and for day to begin again. So drastically different from my life at home. But wow, the blessings that have come from that nothingness at night. I have spent more time with my husband than I ever had. I believe God has something to teach me through the Kaonde people, just as he had something to teach me through the life of Megan Cope. These people that I live in community with hold the secret to waiting. They are waiting for something better. If they do know the Lord, I’ll tell you they are minute-by-minute waiting on Him. What else is there for them here? This world is not their home. There is the anticipation for something better.
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Psalm 130:5-6
A few pictures of my flowers, planted back in November. You have to find a hobby here. This has been one of mine, and oh the joy that came in waiting! They are finally here and blooming!