Just mention you’re going on a trip to a South African Home Affairs Office and you’ll draw quite a reaction. Sadly, it will be mostly negative. You’ll be told everything from the hours it took a person just to apply for the much needed document, to the quality of the service they received. In their time of need, potential applicants often try to find out which particular office is a bit faster and more efficient, and choose to drive a few extra kilometres in the hope of receiving good service.
Recently it was my turn to visit one of our local Home Affairs Offices. Aware of the negative comments that are often heard whilst standing in the queue, I chose to focus on other things, and I looked around at the surroundings of the rural office grounds. Since the office inside is really small, only a few people are allowed in at a time and the rest queue outside.
This is when I noticed the old, stationery caravan, a few metres away from me, which was being used as an ‘office’ for the taking of ID and Passport photos. I thought of how many people are showing entrepreneurial skills in a time when jobs are not a certainty anymore.
The owner of the business then began dusting his working space, took a broom and swept the steps as well as the strip of paving in front of the caravan. I was really impressed. He was ready for a day of business!
Taking in the whole scene, I then looked a bit further than the paving, to the grassy area the caravan was standing on. Much to my surprise I noticed some rubble underneath and around the caravan. The owner was quite happy with the job he’d done and wasn’t bothered about the pieces of plastic and paper still lying around. If I’d also not looked beyond the obvious, I would have left there with only the image of the swept paving and a job well done.
The Lord reminded me then that we so often do exactly the same. We’re aware of issues in our lives which need healing, and of hurts which need to be resolved, but we’re just not willing to go the extra mile.
It’s much easier, (we think), to put on a brave face, smile and make out we have everything under control. The world sees a competent, happy person whose life seems perfect. We believe the lie that if we ignore the issue, it’ll go away. Or maybe, like the person sweeping the paving, we’re in a comfort zone and not interested in looking further than the obvious. Sometimes we even find our identity in suffering and we’re afraid of letting go.
Some of the reasons for ignoring our hurts and issues are linked to pride, control, guilt, shame, fear and lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). We ignore the underlying issues in our lives because we need to live up to the image we’re portraying to the people around us. This becomes a way of survival in a harsh world. We’re either too proud to admit our problems, or we feel so guilty and ashamed that we keep them hidden. We’re afraid of people’s reactions, or we just don’t have the knowledge about the road towards healing.
These are all lies from the enemy to keep us in bondage, and they’re not from the Lord. The Lord’s desire for us is freedom from bondage, lies and hurt. He came so we could live lives of victory in Him.
‘The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly’ (John 10:10).
Prayer: Dear Lord, I come to You today just as I am. You know everything about me and still love me unconditionally. There are areas in my life which I’ve been ignoring, and I repent of that today. Please lead me on the path towards healing, and teach me the way forward. Forgive me for trying to cope by turning a blind eye to my hurts and issues. I bring them before You, Lord, and trust You for healing in every area of my life. I thank You for abundant life in You, and ask that You lead me towards Your plan for my life. Amen.
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