Tuesday, July 19, 2016
But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:14(NLT)
Continuing with our journal from a short mission trip to South Africa:
“The ride into Victoria Falls was uneventful. Our Driver, Rob, is a free-lance tour guide who is going to ferry us back & forth. He is from England, but now makes his home in Harare.
The uneventful drive was not without impact on me. The road, paved but narrow (by U.S. standards) was called the wide hard road. It was cut through a forest of bare-limbed trees. There was little underbrush and you could see clearly through to crudely constructed huts. The shanty-kind of homes widely spaced-out, were made of small, rough-cut branches and small tree trunks.
The impact on my heart, however, was not because of the landscape, but the many people walking along the road. In America we drive everywhere and struggle to heave our bloated, unexercised bodies into a luxury SUV. Here they walk everywhere and carry all their worldly goods on strong, but undernourished arms and shoulders.
As we passed many hundreds of these African people I began to sense a foreboding of what the week will offer – heartbreak!
It was particularly difficult to see the children with a stick and tumble-weed kind of ball as their entertainment. They had smiles on their faces; they were laughing and running. How different from many American youth who rarely run, and whose laughter is reserved for winning a video game or getting an updated electronic toy.
Certainly our cultural differences are going to be a vivid reminder to me of how materialism has distorted a sense of proportion in me – I felt a sense of guilt and shame for how much I possess compared to these people.
It seems theirs is such a bare life – as bare as most of the trees – dull, dusty, and hot. Yet the interaction of these people is vibrant and engaged with each other.
Even now on Sunday morning as I sit outside in the cool dampness, I hear our host, Gertie, barking out orders to the two young men who work for her in the lodge. She barks; they respond. And the talk is animated and anything but dull!
And I sit here wondering why I miss watching the news on CNN.
There are some times when a harsh dose of reality is a good thing. It was that way for me on this short term mission trip. I saw their lives, uncomplicated and unprotected, fragile at the points at which I never worry – today’s food, a repressive government that is corrupt, and primitive conditions that made me want to help, but, in the recesses of my mind, never out of reach the coming trip home in a few days to a life of abundance, of which most of these people, God’s children, my brothers and sisters in the human race, can only dream.
The difficult and narrow road isn’t an African bush kind of road, with little luxury or meager food provisions; rather it is a life of obedience and self-denial in the face of abundance.
The road gets a lot easier for those with much; is that the way God planned it?