I’ve been in Uganda for three weeks now and, honestly, it feels like I’ve been here for at least a year. Apparently, people at home marvel at how quickly I’ll be home. For me, the days are now as long as nursery duty at church, the land where time stands still. I hate to complain, but I’m tired of inhaling the toxic fumes from burning trash (plastic bottles, diapers, etc.), of frequent yet still unpredictable power outages, of cars that aren’t asked to pass emissions tests ever, of mosquito nets, of the absence of trash cans in public places and then discovering that the ladies room stalls only contain holes in the floor but nothing that resembles a “toilet”…just a hole in the floor that you can flush as if to pretend the whole thing was actually civilized. Cold showers, I’ve learned, can actually be refreshing even if there isn’t enough water flow to really feel like you’ve rinsed all the soap and shampoo off. I miss brushing my teeth with water from the faucet rather than partially rinsing my toothbrush with a water bottle that just can’t accomplish what a faucet can. I miss eating food that is a color other than white bread. Have I complained enough? No, I miss clean clothes that actually smell clean rather than worse than before I had them washed. I miss traffic that has some kind of order to it rather than a mosh pit of cars, buses, boda bodas and bicycles all shoving their way into whatever space (whether sidewalk or street) can be grabbed. I’m tired of the language barrier which is compounded by cultural barriers so that every basic conversation is full of confusion, walking on ice and left incomplete or with less understanding than existed before it started. I’m tired of waiting in one waiting room after another from the lawyer’s office (7 times) to the court (3 times) to the International Office of Migration (3 times) to Baylor Medical Children’s Hospital (2 times) to the U.S. Embassy (about 5 times it will be) to the Immigration facility (3 times) all by way of unbelievable traffic and sweaty car rides. I’m so glad I love my baby girl and that I have a kind friend named Moses driving us around and the wonderful aunties at the babies home, because otherwise, this whole process of attaining legal guardianship on the way to adoption would never be worth it.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Phil. 2:6-8
I am full of grumbling and complaining because I am spending, as it seems from the perspective of others who aren’t here, an incredibly short time in a foreign country and foreign culture for the purpose of adopting a precious little 1 year old girl. Jesus left HEAVEN, the company of the Father, and all the advantages and perfections of being part of the godhead, to become human and share in man’s humble nature. I think holes in the ground and periods of time without power are a real burden, what must it have been like to come to the world of the created, to a community of fallen and corrupted and ignorant children, and then to serve and give life to all. I don’t hardly have life for my own self (I keep getting sick here) and yet Jesus wasn’t focused on the inconveniences or discomforts of life as a creature rather than the Creator. He loved and served and cared more about bringing life to those around Him than preserving His own.
He came to what, in comparison to the perfectly complete “home” He already had, was a foreign country and culture, to adopt His children once and for all. He came to make me, to make all those who are His, His forever family. He endured abuse, misunderstanding, scorn, confused looks, reprimands, begging from those who saw Him as a walking ATM on top of the heartbreak of encountering and touching the broken, the sick, the poverty ravaged, the filthy, the too easily abandoned orphans and the oppressed. He witnessed and experienced the injustice of corrupt leaders (or traffic police) who used their position of power to extort money from civilians. He lived with and entered into the suffering of those for whom He came to bring life. And there is no record of Him complaining or criticizing based on His own flesh’s inconvenience.
I am not Jesus and cannot make the point of this processing to be more like Jesus and deny my own humanity. But for starters, I want this present hardship, even if it is the hardship of the spoiled American, to help me better understand a small taste of what Jesus entered willingly and knowingly and then joyfully and peacefully on my behalf. I honestly regret being so self-consumed that I really haven’t been outwardly focused, looking for ways to serve the people who live here and serve as unto the Lord in so many ways year after year. I wish my heart weren’t so demanding of comfort and convenience. My two natural choices are to despair of my condemnable state or to determine to be tougher and more sacrificial in the morning. Instead, the person and work of Jesus offer me a third way: to trust in the One who has completed this good work and will complete it in me. It does not have to be complete on this trip to the Pearl of Africa. Perhaps on our next visit, I will get to see progress made in this redeemed sinner’s heart. Perhaps this visit gives me a starting measurement as well as a greater appreciation for the sacrifice of love made on my behalf. I think my home is so satisfying with its washer and dryer, clean tap water and city sanitation services. But what must that “home” be like in comparison with the one He has with the Father? His Kingdom is far better, more glorious and more life-giving and I want to begin longing for it far more than any other.