Last Friday was moving day. After completing our 10 week language study course (after which we feel very much like Moses – “I speak with faltering lips”) we have finally packed up our things and moved into our house in Livingstone. I’m not sure at what point in life we came to have so much stuff. In fact, I am currently working on (ok, not really working on, just making up) a theory that stuff multiplies when you move it from one house to another. My theory is that all the cluttery junk that one tends to possess in abundance, like ink pens and coffee mugs and electrical cords, all of these triple in quantity during the moving process . But the stuff you really need seems to somehow vanish. For instance, I seem to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 of those red, yellow and white cables for connecting the TV to the VCR – but not a single one that is actually long enough to reach from the TV to the VCR). On the other hand, all the things you really need like coat hangers, and cell phone chargers and of course, duct tape – are no where to be found (though you specifically recall duct taping all the cell phone chargers to coat hangers when you packed). And of course, none of the things you are really fond of multiplies either. I seem to have exactly the same number of Bible commentary sets as I did when we packed, and the TV is still not a plasma.
But setting up home is an odd mixture of delight and torture. Like eating ice cream with gravel in it.
On the delight side, there is that great thing about creating a place that is – well, home; a place that reflects your tastes, your comforts, and your passions, a place of rest and a place of refuge and a place of work. A home becomes that one place where all of your interests and your passions come together. It is the place where all the roads of you intersect.
On the torture side, maybe you recall a certain movie about a run down house that a couple buys as a fixer upper . It’s is called, “The Money Pit,” and well, you get the picture. One day last week, we had a plumber, an electrician and a welder all here at the same time. I was certain passersby would mistake us for a trade school and try to sign up for classes.
Ok, so let me get to the point. After all, this is a blog about Zambia and so you must be wondering by now, where in the world am I going with all this. Ok, here it is.
All this moving, not to mention it being Christmas, has had me thinking a lot about home, and my thoughts of home have got me thinking about what Jesus said in John 14:
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In my
Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, and I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
Now, let’s be honest. No matter how deep our understanding of scripture is, no matter how close our walk with God, this is one of those verses that is wonderfully full of mystery. As one commentator says, “we understand how men are prepared for the place, but not how the place is prepared for men.” What I do understand of this passage though is that this verse talks about Jesus going to prepare a place for us, in heaven – our ultimate and permanent residence. Exactly how he is going about that, I don’t know. I somehow don’t think it means Jesus is measuring our windows for curtains or picking out paint colors at Heavenly Hardware. We can only guess at what it is that Jesus actually does in this preparation process. But, we can be sure, as He is wonderful, that it too, will be wonderful beyond measure!
One of the things that I am challenged by when I see the way Zambians worship, when I see the simplicity in which they live (yes, mostly out of necessity) is that Zambians, far better than we from the west, seem to get this idea, that earth is not our home. They seem to really get it, where as we, where as I at least, sometimes don’t. I live to much I think in the world of cell phone chargers and laptops and internet connections and too little in the reality that it is all passing away.
This week the news here reported that 5,000 homes were washed away in the town of Mazabuka due to flooding. We are having an unusually heavy rainy season this year (a Zambian farmer said it’s the worst he’s seen this early on) and homes tend to be made of mud brick and are not the most durable. And perhaps that’s why Zambians have a firmer grasp on the next life – because their grasp on this one is so tenuous.
I am going there to prepare a place for you, and I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
One day the cell phones will cease (praise God!), there will be no need for coat hangers (for there will be no need for coats) and yes, even the indispensable duct tape, will be dispensed with.
And that day, will truly be moving day! Because we will have finally, forever, arrived at home.