No pain, no gain
As we sit here in Kajiado on the First Sunday in Lent I was reflecting that it is happening at exactly the right time!
The beginning of Lent sees us in the middle of an extremely hot season. The sun blazes out of a clear blue sky and feels like a hammer blow on your head when you go outside. The grass has burned down to a fragile stubble that the animals can’t eat, the livestock are losing condition and all the water dams and rivers are dry. When the ‘hot weather wind’ blows it creates sudden dust storms (locally known as dust devils) that carry all sorts of rubbish high up into the sky and then drops them carelessly all over the place.
Everybody knows that this will continue for quite a long time and there is nothing for it but to simply endure. Because everybody also knows that the hotter the sun, the longer the drought, the stronger the ‘hot weather wind’ – the heavier the rains will be! We need the suffering of the drought and hot season in order to have the blessings of an eventual harvest.
The expectation here is that when we reach the Easter weekend the rains have already started and the grass is already growing. The cattle are gaining condition and the calves and lambs born just before the rains are strong and healthy. The food planted in the shambas is now growing strongly and people’s food supply for the remainder of the year is secured. There will be a sense of well-being and a confirmation that God has not forgotten us, still loves us and is showering His blessings on us.
Now that we have started on the Lent road towards Easter we are very familiar with the sequence of events, and that familiarity can sometimes make us lose the significance and impact of what took place during that time. By the time Jesus is facing his ride into Jerusalem to face his worst suffering and darkness – only He knows what blessings are ahead for those who believe. At that same time on Palm Sunday, we hope to be looking at green grass, healthy animals and blossoming crops that promise a secure future for all across the diocese of Kajiado. Jesus had to go through this difficult time because he knew what was coming next.
Our hope is in the word of God:
‘The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands.’
I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.
As Maggie and I continue to recover from our Land Rover accident late last year we realise that sometimes things happen that haven’t been planned for, and the impact can be serious. We begin to ask questions like why should this happen or why should that happen? There are no answers to those questions and when we try to dig even deeper to understand it all we eventually come to realise that it’s not why did it happen – but rather what’s going to happen afterwards. God is not finished with us yet and as we know for sure what happens after Good Friday, we can also know for sure that God is still in control and has a plan for us. Things do happen – it’s what we do with them that matters.
Thank you again to all of you who prayed and encouraged us during our recovery time and do please pray for us as we continue on the road that God has set out for us.
Our hope and prayer for you is that you travel on the Lent road with Jesus and that on Easter Sunday morning know for sure that God still has a plan for you as well.