Words of Worth

Why is there a Bucket in my Shower?

August 25, 2012

I’m pretty sure I drove my mother crazy as a child asking questions.  (Mom, would you care to comment here?)  I’m actually certain of this fact because many times when my own children were busy driving me to distraction with their “Why’s??” my mom would smile and say that I was “paying for my raising”!    To be honest, I’m still guilty of asking questions; I’m naturally curious although I thought I had outgrown the tendency to ask too many questions.  Then I went to India.

Oh my!  The questions that bombarded my brain and popped right out of my mouth!  I had read a couple of travel books about the culture of India, often checked out “The Times of India” online, and even subscribed to a blog written by an American woman who is temporarily living in South India.  I thought I was adequately prepared.  But no….

Some things were easily explained.

Question:  Why is there a bucket in my shower?

Answer:  So you can have water in case the local supply from the tank is compromised.

Ok – so that makes sense.  Little did we know that was a very common occurrence. We also didn’t know that being on a ground floor apartment was a bonus as the upper floors experienced the water loss more frequently.  One day we watched as our neighbors on the second floor hauled buckets and buckets of water from the outside tap up for their morning showers.

Other inquiries were not so easily explained, as they were cultural in nature.  Some of the women covered their heads during prayer; others did not.  Some of the pastors worshipped through lively dancing and shouting while those from a different region were quieter and more reflective.  Some language groups were to be greeted with a slight bow; others with a hearty “Praise the Lord!”   We tried our best to honor all the different cultures represented but every day I found myself asking “Why?” about another scene I had watched unfold or had experienced myself.

Our incredibly gracious and gentle hostess, Linnet, weathered my questions with patience and did her best to answer each one even going so far as to call me on the phone as we were headed to the airport to leave the country so she could explain one more thing to me.

But mid-week, with a twinkle in her eye and with great wisdom from her heart, she looked at me and said, “There are two answers to all your questions, dear.  One – because it’s India.  Two – because it’s not the United States of America.”

I got it.  I understood now.  My mind is an American mind and although I studied cross-cultural ministry before our trip, I was viewing everything through my red, white, and blue lenses.  From that point I tried to shift my perspective and embrace the beauty and differences I saw rather than analyze them.

Later I realized that Linnet had given me more than a history or social studies lesson on the country of India.  She had imparted to me a great truth about life.   The question “Why?” often plagues us when we try to make sense of injustice or evil or our personal heartaches.  Why would God allow certain events to happen, great or small when it hurts or causes pain or we just don’t understand?

The answer is found in the wise words of “Miss Linnet” to me only turned toward a more eternal perspective.

“There are two answers to your question, dear.  One – because it’s earth.  Two – because it’s not heaven.”

Only in heaven and in the presence of God will everything be perfect.  Jesus knew we would struggle with the question “Why?” – in fact it’s one of the oldest questions in “the Book”.

“These things I have spoken to you so that in Me (notice IN Him, not in the world) you may have peace.   In the world you have tribulation, but take courage I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Things in India and the USA (and all points in between) don’t often make sense.  We find ourselves confused and wondering and asking all sorts of questions but we must fix our eyes on things above, sometimes through a supreme act of our frail will to believe and trust that God is Sovereign and He has it all under control – on earth and in heaven.   (ct)

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