Good Friday morning ...
Africa ... a continent of extremes. It is so huge one could never know it all and, perhaps, one should not try ... for it would surely overwhelm the mind and probably break one's heart.
Africa is an ancient place ... one that has forever evoked a traveler's inquisitive spirit and an inexplicable yearn to return. And so, having been there numerous times over the past twenty years ... it tugs daily on my heart.
I suppose part of the intrigue is that Africa is still a place that has what most of the world has lost ... space, roots, traditions, stunning beauty, true wilderness, rare animals ... and especially, an extraordinary people.
But along with all the intrigue, the Africa we have all come to know is the one we read about every day in the paper or hear about on the news ... a place of drought and floods, of tragedy and famine, of corruption and war, of blood and hunger and tears, of incurable disease and tribal clashes and misery and violence and political unrest. Hardly the place most of us would want to call home.
And yet ... when you take the time to intrude upon this vast habitat ... when you allow the untouched African landscape time to work its pervasive magic ... when you get close to its people and catch a glimpse of their traditions ... you find an attraction that won't quit ... a nagging that pulls and taunts and tugs ... especially to those who can still dream.
I still dream of Africa.
In my dreams there will always be images of bright sunshine and endless vistas, of roaming herds on plains of red dust, of galloping giraffe and crashing elephants, of giant Baobab trees and prickly thorn bushes. But the dreams most prevalent are those of the gentle, handsome, intelligent people ... whose poverty is not of the spirit and whose intentions are not always understood ... but whose hearts are always open.
These are the people for whom tradition is important and to whom family values still matter ... people who protect the young and respect the old ... who care for the sick and feed the hungry, even if it means sharing what little they have ... generous people ... ready to smile and to forgive ... people with a song in their heart and a dance in their step ... enduring, compassionate, patient people.
These are people easy to love ... and so they are frequently in my dreams and often arouse my prayers and sometimes even generate tears at the thought of them.
Today these are some of the special people on my mind and in my prayers. I invite you to pray for them as well:
"Pray for each ... for the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" [James 5:16].
Have a great weekend in the Lord ...