Every where we go, while in Uganda, we are constantly asking, “What is the cost?” A box of 24 bottles of water is 14,000 shillings, but in US dollars that is around $5.60. What’s the cost for a bottle of Coke – 1,500 shillings or $.60 at the market, around $1.20 in a restaurant. A liter of diesel, 3,800 shillings or $1.58 US. But what is the real cost to life? Discussing about becoming a Christian, a Muslim lady said that she would like to do so, but not at this time. We tried to determine if there was something which she needed clarification about. She said she understood everything perfectly. We reiterated that now was the time to make such a decision. We explained how this was the most important decision that she could ever make and sometimes we foolishly think that life will just continue on as normal and that we can try to respond at a “later time”. But who knows if we will even have such a “later time?” She said yes, she understood, but she was concerned about what her husband would say. Ah, that was it! Yes the message was clear but the cost of possible anger or rejection from her husband was more than she was prepared to make at this time. She left, not responding to the gospel.
We could look down upon that lady and say she missed “true life”, because of over valuing “short term life”, but often we do the same. We want to obey The Lord yet because of the fear of loosing something, we fail to obey. We might have lots of excuses but, in reality, the reasons we give, the excuses we present, or in spite of whatever else we might say, the real issue is that inwardly we think that the cost is too great for us.
Luke 14:28 encourages us to count the cost. Lord help us to consider, and weigh the eternal costs more seriously then the short term costs. Lord, help us to see that there are no long term costs, only long term gains which will come from following you.
Driving along a rural road we found ourselves with a group of baboons on each side of us. “Group” is the term used for a large family or clan of baboons, and no I am not referring to the team members sitting all around me. These were actual baboons. Within our vehicle was a bunch of well ripened bananas that we had not yet thrown out. We opened the window and threw one banana into the group. The largest baboon and obviously the more dominant rushed forward and ate the banana, peal and all. We then picked out a smaller baboon and threw a banana toward him, though the dominant one cased the smaller baboon away and ate the banana quickly. When we threw a banana directly to a different large baboon, a fight took place, teeth were barred as the dominant tried to snatch the banana away. Occasionally a young baboon would catch a banana directly thrown to it and then scamper through a low lying path that the dominant could not get through, thus the smaller one got away with a banana, though not without some screeching howls from the dominant one. Mother baboons did not seem willing to try to help get some food for the younger ones that they were carrying. It seemed normal that the strong one should eat and the rest should not.
I thought of the nature of this group of primate like mammals where “might makes right”. In our human society if there is no absolute moral code then norms and morals of society are made by similar standards. Those with the most strength, the most knowledge, the most skill, the most persuasive communication, the most friends, or the most money end up establishing the guidelines for all. In the baboon community the mothers, the young and the weak all bowed down to the ruling of the mighty dominant one. This is not the way it is to be within mankind. God has put a moral code within each of us. God has written His law within our hearts, (Rom 2:15) so that one individual does not rule at the expense of others. As Christians we are called to help the weak and the poor, not to oppress them.
Lord, help us not to be self serving individuals. Give us sensitive hearts to the needs of others.
Did I say, “let the children play?” I should have said, “let the children pray.” Several nights ago in the evening service we encouraged the believers to pray for each other. One young 10 year old Ugandan boy was overwhelmed with the opportunity to pray for others. He rushed around looking to join one of our team members. Together with a team member they came to a lady with a head ache and chest pain, she also was consumed with fear over what was happening in her life. The young child started to pray and with one simple prayer the head pain and chest pain was gone. With some most concerted prayer the child and team member were able to see a liberated smile come upon the woman. All fear was gone.
God can us anyone, even a young child. You might consider your faith or your spiritual walk to be childlike in nature but God can work through you too. In Matthew 18:3 we are encouraged to be like little children, to see the full purposes of God, His kingdom.
Lord help us to do what You have set before us in Childlike faith.
Life in rural Uganda. Every evening we took time to pray for individuals. In the rural area where people make a living through hard work, living is difficult. Cutting trees or cultivating the land is done with simple tools like machetes and mattocks. Heavy burdens are carried on the shoulders or heads of the people. The local water, if not boiled thoroughly, carries bacteria that will affect the stomach. There are no medical clinics and the people have no money to pay for medication if they did need it. One pastor’s wife had hired a motor cycle (called a boda boda) to bring her to the conference. In traveling the motorcycle tipped and she broke or fractured the fibula bone in her leg. One of our team members, being a physiotherapist, examined the leg and there was no doubt that the bone was broken. The leg was swollen, it was painful to tough. Our advice was to go to a medical clinic and get it X-rayed; get a cast put on it; keep it elevated; and keep from bearing weight on the leg for a minimum of 3 weeks, or better yet 6 weeks. Of course we prayed for the leg, and then we prayed again and again. This lady was taking care of 12 children. Though we gave her proper medical advice. We knew that she would not be able to sit with her leg elevated for several days. She did not have the time or money to go to a clinic to get the leg x-rated or cast; she would buy no pain medication. She would not keep off of the foo for there was work to be done hills to climb, church services to attend, people to minister to. The hard situations of life had increased her tolerance for pain so she hobbled away in pain, thankful for the prayers and for the concern. Two days later I talked with her and her husband. The leg was still badly swollen, there was still pain, she was still standing and walking on it.
In this hard life situation, headaches, neck, back and stomach problems were common to every one and so we prayed and prayed and prayed. Some were touched and healed and some were not. We prayed day after day, evening after evening; without God’s help little would be accomplished.
We take much for granted in our comfortable Canadian lives. We are blessed, but do we express our gratitude to God. Take time to thank The Lord for what we have been blessed with.