Recently while meeting with someone, she shared how she sees and feels God more in Cameroon than in the USA. She asked me (DeAnna) if I did. My response was that I’m more aware of my dependence on Him in Cameroon than in the USA. In ways it’s easier to glide along in the USA than here because so many things are taken care of for the people. There are organizations and governmental groups that look after everything – from manhole covers to sidewalk edging to handrails to driving enforcement to the USDA, FDA, etc… so I don’t as readily recognize how God took care of me in such and such situation.
That conversation got me thinking about things that I’ve seen or experienced here that has given me a mental picture of Biblical subjects.
1) Boils – I’ve read the passage many times about the plague of boils, however, I never had a boil in the USA (they do exist there and people get them, I just hadn’t experienced them or knew of anyone who had). Now I definitely know the pain, heat, frustration and total gross out of boils. In Deut 28:27 “The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed.” Job 2:7 “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” How horrible! I know the misery of boils, so now when I read this I know firsthand how terrible this is. I had a boil in my nostril the first week of November and a boil around my waistband area on my stomach the second week of November that my body is trying to heal from.
2) Sheep and Goats – In Matthew 25 it talks about how Jesus will come and separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. I used to think how simple that would be to separate sheep from goats. I’m not saying this passage is implying it’s not simple, but I’ve read commentary on it and heard sermons and have wondered about that kind of separation. Before living here I thought all sheep are wooly, squatting kinds of creatures and goats are a bit taller, more lean and have coarse hair – so what’s the big deal in separating these two creatures. It wasn’t until we went to Banso and were walking to a waterfall through a field where sheep and goats were grazing. I couldn’t tell them apart and the friends we were with were pointing the differences out to me.
3) Communal Wells – all throughout the Bible you can find passages and verses talking about fetching/drawing water. I was exposed to wells and the idea of fetching/drawing water, however, I never lived where that was the main source of water. We don’t live in a home where we are dependent on walking to a water source like the nearest well or river to collect our water for the day, we do know a bit what it’s like from what we observe and from water cuts where we collect rain water, use buckets of water, etc… It’s funny that so many jokes talk about the water cooler, because here it’s hanging out at the well spigot. In our neighborhood, there are few houses that have piped water. We see throughout the day, groups of people hanging out at the spigot filling bottles, jugs, buckets, etc… and chatting as a group while the containers are being filled. Like in the Bible.
4) Wheat – In Ruth and in Matthew there are passages and verses that talk about the threshing floor; separating chaff from wheat. I have seen wheat fields before, however, I never needed to separate any chaff from wheat because it was done for me and I purchased my wheat already ground into flour in a store. Here it’s necessary to separate the parts of the wheat before the miller will grind the wheat into flour. The miller here uses a machine, it’s not by hand.
5) Slaughtered Animal for Dinner – there are many places in Scripture talking about visitors arriving and it’s dinnertime so the owner slaughters the animal to prepare for the meal. During my youth I was involved with showing steer and seeing the carcasses at slaughterhouses, I never remember someone coming for dinner to our home and my parents said we needed to go slaughter a cow for that meal. It takes a lot of time and energy to slaughter an animal. In the USA we would purchase our meat from the store already cut into portions or receive meat from a slaughtered cow that had been processed by a slaughterhouse. All the meat was approved in advance by a governmental agency. Here we have been invited to dine with others and it wasn’t until we arrived that the slaughtering of the animal and preparing began. Also, we’ve purchased meat hanging by the quarter or half and ask for a certain cut.