It’s less than three months since we stepped off the plane at Entebbe airport and made our way to our new home here in Kampala, Uganda. Despite that relatively short amount of time, our house has already played host to a range of weird and wonderful guests.
We’ve had ants in their thousands, a couple of cockroaches and more geckos than I’ve ever seen in my life. There are spiders that jump, mosquitos and flies that irritate, and once even a giant butterfly who was most reluctant to leave the comfort of our abode. It took much coercing to get that guest out of the window.
And that’s just inside the house. Only a few nights ago we were enjoying a BBQ at the house of a wonderful MAF family when some kind of grasshopper / cricket type critter dropped from a tree into my hair. It was dark, so hard to identify exactly what type of insect had taken a liking to me, but it certainly gave me a shock! Only a few minutes later a rather large rat ambled right past us on its way to the compound compost heap.
There are more pleasant visitors as well. As I type this I’m looking at a Hadada Ibis, named for the very distinctive call it makes, frequently just as the sun is coming up! There are many other species of bird that visit as well, and butterflies aplenty. We once had a monkey stop by, but he’s not been seen since our first week here. Perhaps he was simply welcoming us to his country.
With all the life outside and inside the house, it’s a nice feeling to crawl beneath our mosquito net at night. It sets my mind at ease knowing there is a barrier between me and the assorted wildlife happily ensconced in our home. At first it was a strange sensation, seeing a slightly out-of-focus world through the fine mesh of our night-time nest, but now there is a great comfort to curling up inside it.
If I’m honest with myself, there are plenty of creepy crawlies that could circumnavigate our net and find their way onto my pillow, but it works to keep us free from any winged terrors, and it’s a reassurance against everything else.
I think that’s sometimes how this journey of faith works. Jesus didn’t promise an easy life for us; if anything, he said the opposite, explaining that we will have difficulties while we’re here on the earth. What he did promise is that he will be our hiding place, protecting us from trouble (Psalm 32). He promised to be our refuge (Psalm 46), and that we could take shelter beneath his wings (Psalm 61). What beautiful imagery. He allows us to shelter under the protection of his net. Yes, we will still face the insects, the difficulties of this world, but beneath his protection we know we don’t need to fear.
I am living life beneath the net of God’s goodness, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.