Every once in a while, I stumble across a lived-out reality of something I have read in the Bible or some other book. This happened so poignantly a few weeks ago as we walked into one of Lusaka’s squatter areas to teach C.R.O.S.S.. As we wound our way through the trash-filled, dirt roads, I noticed in front of us a small girl – maybe 3 or 4 years old – sitting in the middle of the road with her legs spread out and a tin can in front of her. She grabbed a hand-full of dirt off the ground and threw it in her “pot” and used a stick to vigorously stir the dirt. Usually, when we walk through these areas, we are stared at and talked about and talked to because we whites are a strange scene in these squatter towns. But not to this little girl – she didn’t have any idea what was going on around her. It was just her and her little mud pie.
It immediately made me think of the famous quote from C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Last weekend, some of us on our team were able to get away for a few days to Mushingashi Conservation – a lodge and safari place 5 hours west of Lusaka. Our camp was situated right on the Kafue River, overlooking the river and a beautiful African plain.
As we sat around our camp fire one morning, reflecting on the hippos, crocs, elephant, impala, and eagles we saw from that spot, my mind wandered back to that little girl in George compound, totally content to make her mud pies without realizing how much she is missing.
Of course, C.S. Lewis meant for that analogy to make us realize how we are no different – content with the “glitz and glamor” of what the world offers without realizing the mind-blowing pleasure found in God and His promises. Oh God, help me to not settle for less.