God-incidence. More than coincidence, a moment when God does something so great and wonderful that years later you still marvel at how beautifully everything came together.
Every once in a while I find myself anxious and afraid; life’s challenges seemingly impermeable to all my prayers and effort. Stuck with a myopic perspective, I am helpless, hopeless and desperate. Like David feeling stuck in the ‘lowest pit’ with ‘darkness as his closest friend’, I need forever eyes – to see my circumstances, my world, and the people in my world from an eternal perspective. This is a God-incidence; a condensed account of a ‘muddy pit’ that God took me out of.
In Search Of Adventure
A couple of years back, I found myself in a little town in the southern part of Germany. Of course, I didn’t just find myself there; I hoped, prayed and strategized till a whole set of factors aligned in my favor.
Soon after my graduation, I began taking German language lessons…to while away the ‘tarmacking’ time as I searched for a real job. This eventually led to a volunteer teaching position at a German-curriculum school in Nairobi. Then through a friend of a colleague I was introduced to a ‘nice’ family in Germany that was happy to host me for three months as I advanced my German.
The final challenge had been convincing my parents that this was the journey to the life I wanted. They had questions about my living costs and I remember praying for a George Mueller experience. He was an 18th Century preacher that refused to ask anyone for support. Rather, he made his requests known unto God and took him at his word. He dared to trust God for the daily needs of countless of orphans that he cared for. There were many years where he had just enough food or money to feed his orphans that day. Many times food or money appeared just before they sat down to eat. In the end my parents agreed, not because of my determined pestering but because they knew how much I wanted it.
The truth? I was a disillusioned graduate who didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life or education. Something I thought a little European adventure, in the name of searching for a Masters school, could cure. I could hear the sound of music playing in my head:
Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
‘Till you find your dream.
A White Whispy Winter
And so it was that I found myself in a small picturesque town bordering the famous Schwarzwald – black forest. In winter it looked like something straight out of a Christmas movie. Sparkling white snow resting on endless hills of evergreen trees; the scenery was breathtaking. My first winter was unusually cold with temperatures plunging well below negative twenty degrees; on occasion up to two meters of snow would fall in a single day.
Even with the ghastly biting cold, the mountains of snow were a delight. I would sit by the window sill watching its pure white form leisurely drop to the ground, almost in slow motion. It felt magical. I loved playing in/with it, making snow balls and snowmen just like in the movies. I loved the challenge of walking in knee-high snow, the squishy sound it made as I trudged through it in my winter boots. Clearing the pavements of snow felt like digging a ‘shamba’ without the benefit of a harvest, but even that I didn’t mind. In super organized German fashion, all sidewalks had to be snow and slide free; the homeowners were liable for any and all injuries that occurred on their part of the street. It was all new and exciting just as adventure always is.
The Host Family
The first few days of living with my host family were great. They lived in a 2 storey corner house with a small garden and white picket fence. I had my own little attic room complete with white walls and slanting windows. The two storey’s below housed 4 people: a 7 year old girl, her 5 year old brother, their German mother and grandmother. The children’s mother, only a year older than I, was away for a three month internship to complete her undergraduate course. She didn’t want to leave the children alone with their retired, polio-challenged grandmother. Plus with less than ten non-Caucasian people in the entire town, the mother thought it wise for the children to get in touch with their ‘African roots’. The bi-racial children shared the same African Father, whom they had never met.
My new world came with all kinds of new sounds, tastes and smells. I loved the grandma’s cooking and it was with joy that we all gathered around the dining table sometimes 5 times a day. Digestion produces heat energy that keeps the cold at bay. My duty was to walk the children to their school, playground and violin or piano lessons. It was a small town so everything was a short distance away. When the children were at school, I explored everything else – the boutique shops, malls, ancient churches from the 17hundreds and my all time favorite, the parks. My preferred park was by an elementary school named after George Mueller. I even had a favorite bench whence I watched my novel and interesting world pass by. The sun was shining, I had found my adventure and I was thrilled.
“God is real, God is trustworthy, God answers prayer”. George Mueller.
Song of the Week – 10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman