It’s raining in Africa.
Great, heavy drops of rain. Rain like it doesn’t rain in Britain.
But its good to be back. Up till this afternoon it had been hot – hot with an intensity that the sun never achieves in northern Europe. I forget what that heat feels like, that forcefulness of the sun, but so much else feels familiar and welcoming. Coming off the back of a long, cold, wet, British winter it has felt good to see the sun and color again. The strelitzias are out, and the bougenvillia. The bird life in Zimbabwe is extraordinary, and there are the familiar smells – of the flowers and soil, and of wood smoke and creosote. I am only sorry I failed to bring insect repellent – the mosquitoes are eating me alive!
There is something very comforting about the familiar, something that conveys a sense of being at home as soon as one comes into contact with it. While I feel that sense of home here as I have been travelling to southern Africa for the past 22 years, because I am here, in Zimbabwe, that which is most familiar, and most comforting to me is many thousands of miles away.
Tomorrow Grace and I will have been married for 16 years. I never like to be away from her, and I especially don’t like to be away for our anniversary. For 16 years Grace has mediated the grace of God to me. Being with her is to be at home.
So I am grateful to be married to a woman who releases me to do the things that God calls me to, and that I enjoy doing. I am grateful that she helps and encourages me. I am grateful that I can trust her absolutely. I know things will be well at home while I am away because she is there and holding things together.
I was teaching the apprentices at Ebenezer training college today about trust. Trust begins with trust in God – believing that in Christ he has exchanged my sin for his righteousness. There is nothing I can add to this – I just trust him that it is true. This trust than works out in ever expanding circles of trusting relationships, and the first and most important of these is the relationship of trust between a husband and wife. Build that bond of trust and a virtuous chain extends to embrace children, and neighbours, and the wider community, and eventually whole nations. Break that bond of trust and everything begins to unravel.
For 16 years I have been able to trust Grace completely.
I guess Grace and the girls will be reading this – so to them specifically I want to say, I love you, and look forward to being at home with you soon. You are more special and wonderful to me than you will ever know.
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