Look at this little treasure we found while sitting in our friend’s garden for afternoon tea! Chameleons are such fascinating creatures, and while I think they are fairly common here in Zambia, we have only seen two since we moved here 6 months ago (wow half a year goes so fast!). Of course what makes them so neat is their amazing ability to blend into their surroundings. To see them, you have to either be really lucky, or you have to train your eyes to see beyond what it seems.
I have found that this new way of seeing can help you find hidden treasures like a Chameleon inside what looks like a normal aloe plant. In trials, it is so helpful when you can see beyond what you are going through to the light that Jesus uses to make all things good and new.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer in grief all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be genuine and may result in praise, glory, honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” 1 Peter1: 6-7 (NIV)
This week we are celebrating 6 months in Zambia and God has been refreshing my spirit with a new perspective. We are on the other side of some of the trials and though not everything has been solved nor does it seem there is nothing more we will have to face in the future, God’s peace is available from within the storm. In fact, as it says in the 1 Peter passage, trials and difficult times are actually very important for our journey as Christians because we are constantly in pursuit of being conformed into the image of our God and Savior.
Seeing the light amidst the darkness of trials can help us to persevere when it feels like we have nothing left. God gives us exactly what we need to get through all situations. Last week, I quoted 2 Peter 1:3 which proclaims that the Gospel equips us with everything we need to live the godly life he has called us to when we trust and live in the light of what Jesus did for us on the cross. However, in the day-to-day activities on this earth, we live in a tension between the darkness of our sin coupled with the pain of earthly trials, and the light of Christ’s resurrection and the hope of eternal life and perfect communion with the Father in the life to come.
Though we may be in a season of trials we must fix our eyes on the hope to come. We must see the light in the darkest of times. Not in a way that causes us to downplay difficult things that we have gone through, but in a way that proclaims God’s light and goodness that still reigns when we are in a difficult situation.
We have been seeing this in a very tangible way in Lusaka, as light has literally been hard to come by because of frequent power outages! So, instead of focusing on the fact that we don’t have power, we are forced to cling to some of the things we do have.
Our Solar lamps have been the wedding gift that keeps on giving during the frequent power outage season.
They attribute these frequent power outages to what we call “load sharing.” This year especially, Zambia has been experiencing a lack of power due to a lack of rain during the last season. Most of our power here in Lusaka is generated from a nearby dam, but since the dam wasn’t supplied with much water, we in turn haven’t been supplied with much power. So, in order to make up for this deficit, the power company has to take power away from different parts of the city at different times so we can all “share the load” of this power shortage.
Though living without power for most of the day can be frustrating, it has taught many of us to see the light. Just last night we were able to squeeze four families around my friend’s dinner table because they were the only ones with power. So, instead of three of our households sitting at home with little means to see or cook dinner, the power outage caused us to come together and rejoice in the household that did have power. What a cool picture of God’s provision and the beauty of community that helps us make it through trials!
Psalm 90 puts this contrasting picture of the darkness our situations and the light that God provides:
“All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan…
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”
Psalm 90: 9, 14
The Psalmist acknowledges the pain and temporary nature of our life on earth, which may often feel like a moan, but then pleads with God to help us see the light of the morning. I love it when I get the chance to enjoy the beauty of the morning through the view outside my living room window.
Our days on this earth are but a passing shadow. But God blesses us with a new morning everyday, and sometimes we have to ask for the eyes to see it. Though trials and difficulty want to consume our thoughts, we must see them as tools God can use to bring about His glory in our lives. May seek His beauty in trials, and His light in the darkest of situations, and His eyes to help us see.