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Covid-19 Devotionals

In the Bush

Today we travelled through to Izapa Bush and Games Lodge, about half way to Moloto along the Moloto Road. Our appointment was for 12pm. Being Sunday, the travel was easy as there were very few vehicles on the road. The reason we went to Izapa was to do a rehearsal for some friends’ wedding on 1 November. Everything went smoothly, though just being on the farm and in the bush again reminded us of just how much we love that environment. Today was the first time since early January that we have been there.

It’s a place you either love or dislike. Many people don’t like the bush. One lady who was present said that she does not like the bush. “I’m a city girl,” she said. Let me explain the negatives of the bush before explaining the positives. On the negative side, you are far away from shops. You can’t just ride to the first shop some 10 plus kms away if you forgot chocolates or matches (for a braai). It can be far hotter than the city. If it has not rained for a few days during the summer, bushes and grass tend to look half dry. Should the wind blow, the sand roads cause high volumes of dust to be deposited everywhere. There are no air-conditioners at hand to cool you down. As we were there in the middle of the day, no animals were to be seen because they find a place to rest in the shade due to the heat of the day. If you are strictly a peoples’ person, you will struggle not having people to chat to other than those with you. Lastly, there is not many things to do other than to sit at the bar, swim, play board games, watch TV, go for walks or perhaps a game drive.

On the positive side you could sit at the bar, watch TV, go for walks, swim, play board games, do a game drive … but there is far more if the bush is your fancy. The first is “silence”. Too many people like noise. Not that noise is necessary a bad thing, but when you are able to hear silence, hear yourself think and hear noises you will never hear in the city such as birds, animals and some insects. Another is “nature”. The bush is all about nature. You are in the open … trees, bushes, shrubs, plants, grass, sand, dead trees, spiders and their webs, animal dung, birds, animals of a variety of kinds, etc. The quietness of the bush lends itself to “patience” for this is the opportunity to stop, wait and look around for birds or critters in trees and bushes. Patience also implies “time”. When in the bush, you need time and you have time to stop, wait and look. To me one of the great features of the bush is the varied shades of trees, bushes and shrubs. In the winter when everything turns brown, you have many shades of brown … and in summer you have many shades of green.

Watching the various animals is equally exciting. Take a giraffe and the beauty of them mating, wrapping their necks to resemble a heart; or the Warthog family, racing away with their unique tails up in the air; or the Wildebeest, seemingly “stampeding” away from you in fright. Then at night you have this totally dark silence … and suddenly you hear an animal snort, the sound of hooves telling you some species are moving around … and as light breaks, birds start calling out in song. Either on a game drive or walking up the mountain, you can see so far and with binoculars you see animals moving amongst the bushes. If you are blessed as we were, you might see an animal giving birth. It’s possible on walks to pick up quills from Porcupines or find a rock that resembles something. Jenny found a rock that looks like a baboon’s head. Once I found a rock resembling the shape of Africa. The bush is one of the most beautiful places to be … I could easily live there. But then, it is equally true that some people love being in the lush mountains and others at the sea. Interestingly, we read in Acts:

Ac 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

If you believe in the Sovereignty of God, then you need to understand these verses more easily! God is the Sovereign Creator of everything. He is the Lord of Heaven and Earth and because He is, He is not limited to some temple somewhere … He can be and is everywhere all the time. He is God! We are part of His creation … and He provides everything necessary to sustain us. His intention after Genesis 3 (given in Genesis 1) was that man inhabit the earth. He enforced this in Genesis 11 (Tower of Babel). Now look at Acts again:

Ac 17:26 he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

Whoever we are, we are born and raised exactly when and where God intended we be. This implies that God wants us not only to grow up in the area He placed us, He wants us to enjoy our surroundings. He gives us our surroundings as a gift to be enjoyed. This does not mean we can’t travel or migrate or even immigrate. If we do, there too we ought to enjoy our surroundings. But the greatest part of being where we are and enjoying our surroundings–be it a in the city, the suburb, a township, the rural area, a farm, the bush, in the mountains or at the sea–is that we appreciate God’s beautiful creation. I love the garden, the suburbs’ attractions, the cities’ sights … I even love the mountains and sea … but I really appreciate the bush because there in nature I can appreciate my God’s creation so much more. Perhaps a last example is gazing up into the skies at night. There is no light except the lights in the sky. Although visible from anywhere in the South Hemisphere, at Izapa, on a clear night you could see what is known as the Big 5 of the African Sky. These are the five celestial objects: the Southern Pleaides (an open star cluster), omega Centauri (a globular cluster), the eta Carinae Nebula (a bright nebula), the Coal Sack (a dark nebula), and the Milky Way (a galaxy) (assa.saao.ac.za/sections/deep-sky/big5/). I love the bush!

Glorious Creator and Sustainer, blessed be You for Your tremendous artistic skills in providing us with such beauty all around us. Help us to be more observant and enjoy the many wonders of Your good creation. Amen.

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