November. Running my usual errands, I stepped onto the streets of Blantyre. The tar marked road glazed as the people trudged through. The cries of the minibus conductors solicited for the people’s money as each passer-by made their desperate attempts to trek through the scorching heat of the sun. I could see it on all of their faces. I could hear the mantra within me: “Kodi mvula ibwera liti (when will the rains come).” The suns kisses, coupled with the keen hugs of the humid air, throttled the temperaments of my fellow countrymen. Work now seemed to be a tad bit slower. The notion of blankets was border-line bizarre. The anopheles’ mosquito seemed to buzz a little louder as the clammy night erased the suns beams. I could see the street vendors rummaging for shade as the mid-day sun grinned at them. Those who seemed to be most successful were those selling water in their small plastics as our neighboring counter-parts saw it opportune to tantalize us with their thirst-quenching delectable: Frozy. The “clouds” pitifully stared from their headquarters. There was no sign of rain.
Kodi mvula ibwera liti…
I woke up the next morning (sleeping on top of my sheets). The air seemed to have gained a couple of pounds. I sat in my room trying to map out my day. I re-positioned myself and new exactly what I was going to do. I slept. Woken by my inner “lunch time” clock, I quickly freshened up and shuffled my way to the cafeteria. I got back to my room. Lunch seemed to be most rousing as I slothfully picked at bits of my food. I lay on my bed (tempted to sleep again), as my mind cascaded in circles. A good two hours walked by. Looking around my room I noticed something. It was darker. The curtains were semi-closed. Drawing them apart I looked from my bedroom window. A thicket of clouds overwhelmed the once blue sky. They looked heavy. They looked daunting. A tinge of darkness blanketed the city as the stillness of the air hovered amidst. One drop. Two drops. The pavement soon began to grow freckles as the miniscule drops of rain painted hope on the scorching ground. The heaviness seemed to momentarily lift as the gush of rain poured out on the thirsty ground. The hail smacked the earth as my dorm-mates stood over the balcony with hearty contentment. Rain!
“I wonder whether the rain will really come…”
Every year, for as long as anyone can remember, people, both young and old, dig the earths powdery ground, planting seeds of crop and seeds of hope. The 5am rooster cockles at an empty house as the kids and parents form lines in the ground with no sign of rain. Though the seven-year-old may question the need to plant, and though the scorching heat daunts mercilessly at each thrust of the plough, deep down, with desperate assurance and hope, they know the rain will come.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes I’m like that seven-year old kid. I wonder whether the rain will really come; whether God will really show up. Like the servant of Elijah we gaze at the sky looking for the palm sized cloud that will whisper a glimmer of hope into our being. And as we look for the seventh time it seems that the only clouds forming are those that shadow our faith. Yet the Lord, in gracious strength, tells His seven-year-old children to keep planting: planting seeds of faith, seeds of prayer and seeds of obedience. It seems pretty nonsensical to plough in the heat when the unseen rain seems worlds away. Yet God delights to work in the unseen. He desires to see the precious faith which He has given you manifest itself in the scorching heat overshadowing the sun’s rays of doubt and fear. More than the fruit of our faith, He desires to grow the faith of our fruit. He keenly wants you and me to believe. He wants you and I to build the arc even though we have never seen rain. He wants you and I to press through the wilderness though we have never seen Canaan. He yearns with holy intensity that you and I see Him. For when we do, our souls will collide with this spellbinding truth: His rain never fails.