I know it is bad writing to put your disclaimer up front. Yet, in this wrestling with the fear and love for Africa please don’t buy the marketing illusions of the lords of poverty. Africa has a thriving middle class and there are abundant ethical investment opportunities.
Yet I still fear Africa. She has shaped me. For that I am greatly thankful. I’ve seen some matters that others may not see in today’s Africa. Those matters disturb my sleep. Yet, they are matters that have made me love Africa to the deepest part of my being. The wrestling with fear and love has profoundly taught me to love my wife and my God. Therefore if you dare expose yourself to the terror of holy love read on.
I love Africa because I fear her.
I fear the sound of automatic gunfire at night.
I fear the power of an earthquake.
I fear months without rain.
I fear the wrath of mob justice.
I fear my car breaking down in the middle of nowhere.
I fear wild inflation and declining exchange rates.
I fear ethnic conflict.
I fear corrupt government officials.
I fear cobras that rise to my car window, the speed of green mambas, and the intimidation of puff eiders.
I fear armed robbers.
I fear hail that strips all vegetation and pummels the earth.
I fear torrential rains, mud slides, and washed out bridges (that I don’t see are washed out until it is too late.)
I fear policemen at roadblocks near Christmas.
I fear the rapids of the Nile.
I fear the methane bubbles of Lake Kivu.
I fear rats, frogs, and toads that draw snakes into my compound.
I fear hyenas and leopards on the edges of my suburban home.
I fear diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
I fear AIDS.
I fear being passed by a catawampus bus on a narrow road.
I fear potholes as big as my truck.
I fear the generational consequences of non-literacy and chronic poverty.
I fear the generational consequences of institutions not shaped by truth, mercy, and justice.
Out of fear I find what I love.
I love the pronoun “we.”
I love Africa when we come together.
I love Africa when we are led by strong willed people of integrity.
I love Africa when justice and mercy reign in our community.
I love Africa when we pick up the trash and scavengers don’t visit our homes.
I love Africa when we kill poisonous snakes.
I love Africa when we hold a thief to account but refrain from revenge.
I love Africa when I’m lost, broke, or in trouble; and I hear a voice say, “Hey, Dave I’m here. How can I help?”
I love Africa when we heal our bodies and spirits.
I love Africa when we dig out of a mud slide.
I love Africa when we plant new trees.
I love Africa when we mobilize to feed refugees, care for orphans, and shelter the vulnerable.
I love Africa when we refuse to be defeated.
I love Africa when we repair a road with our bare hands.
I love Africa when we go to a traditional wedding and the bride and groom unite our diverse communities.
I love the sound of crying babies and laughing children. I love Africa. She has taught me the power of our sovereign and mysterious God. She has taught me the dignity of our humanity and strength of our community. Her Ubuntu cannot be easily translated to English. To find her you must wrestle with fear and love.
Some contemporary Western Christians only have room in their heart to love God. They theorize away fear. Yet, if you have no fear of God do you really believe in Him? Or are you just pursuing a romantic idolatry? If God is powerful, holy, and just how dare we approach Him without fear?
Some will categorize human relationships that have fear as ones of childhood. Yet, in the passions and covenants of adulthood fear also is part of our emotional make up.
Can I love my wife and not fear the look of disappointment in her eyes?
Can I love her entire history and being and not fear her clan elders?
In order to truly love one must also fear. Thank you Africa for teaching me to deeply love. #Ubuntu