A fellow missionary ex-pat posted on Facebook today that she was in mango heaven at the market. The mangoes are sweet, plentiful, and oh so very cheap over here in the Mekong Delta this time of year.
This is on the tail end of some temps that had even the veterans among us and the Cambodian populace dripping with the heat.
It.has.been.so.hot. The heat isn't just something that you walk through. It affects every part of your life.
Are you late for an appointment? It may be because you are so sapped of strength that you can't even make your body move faster.
Are you having cold sandwiches AGAIN for dinner? It may be because you can't bear the thought of turning on the stove. OR you can't make yourself enter the scorching sunlight to get to market for supplies!
Are you having any family time? Well, that depends on if you call looking at each other across the room while you are each sitting in your own sweat family time.
The heat pushes us until we find that we are snappy we find that we are grumpy we find ourselves day dreaming of central air and its availability almost everywhere that is just a plane ticket away.
It makes me often wonder about Jesus and His time of wandering in the desert place when Satan tempted Him. He wasn't the only one that wandered. Others spent long stretches in the dry, desert places or endured long famines. What caused them to keep putting one foot in front of the other? Their faith was not of the fast food and air conditioned variety. It was one that was deeply rooted in and completely grounded.
In response to my friend's facebook post, I responded with a short memory of our first year here.
When I say that the heat was so intense during our first hot season in 2005, I am not exaggerating. It was not only our first time to walk through one so we were not used to the heat physically, but it was widely documented and reported as one of the hottest seasons on record. So for us it felt like a double whammy.
A co-worker told us plan to get one thing done each day. Only one thing. If you accomplish that, it is progress. But don't beat yourself up over the fact that it is only one thing. In my prideful heart I thought to myself One thing? Well, he's never met us. We are going to get this thing whipped and start forward motion.
Aw the fall that comes after the rise of pride! We all found ourselves zapped each and every day. That one thing that we would get accomplished? Sadly, many mornings it was simply getting a breakfast on the table, sad, sad, sad.
About half way through that first scorching season, I was sitting at our homeschool co op and feeling like I could lay down on the floor and just cry. I didn't care who knew. I didn't care who saw me. I was miserable.
A veteran mother from Australia came over to sit beside me and apparently took pity on this battered shell of a person. She asked me how was I doing. There wasn't any pride left in me, I just spewed about how miserable I was it probably wasn't very pretty for her to watch and hear.
She gently asked me what did I feel was the hardest thing I was struggling with today? I told her it was the heat. Not the struggle of living in Cambodia with developing nation culture shock. Not the language barrier or the struggle to communicate even the most basic thing with our preschooler level vocabulary. Not the heartache of homesickness. It was the heat.
A look of knowing and understanding passed through her beautiful eyes that had seen so much. She leaned ever so slightly towards me and gave my arm a comforting squeeze. She assured me it would pass and that one day I would notice that my focus had changed from the hot temps to the mangoes.
The mangoes are sweetest when the temps are the hottest.
That has held true. I still feel the heat. It still takes away my breath at times and I find myself in my fourth shower of the day wondering how can a body possibly sweat while taking a cold shower???
Yet, the mangoes are sweetest when the temps are the hottest.
It is during the times of intense battle that the Lord's grace is upon us the most.
It is during the exhausting times of struggle that we find yes, indeed, His mercies are new every morning.
We learn the sweet taste of peace when we lift our hearts in surrender when all is shaking around us and yet we praise Him for His will to be done in all things.
If you find that your are in one of these hot seasons now, I pray that you will find that image that the Father is holding up for you to look upon and see the truth of hope. Hope in His goodness, hope in His faithfulness, hope in His sufficiency.
The mangoes ARE sweetest when the temps are the hottest.
Breathing in, breathing out,