Cut it off!

Pluck it out.

My MIL had this love for trees, in particular Avocado trees. Yes, her avocadoes were out of this Kampala. Huge, as in one could feed our little family of four. For context, the avocadoes I ate in school, one could only sufficiently feed me. And I don’t really fancy avocado that much. Really! So anyway, these avocadoes had that real avocado green color, wow. Peeling one was delightful, the flesh fell exactly where you wanted it. If you have peeled one that got mushy and collapsed into insy winsy bits ina bowl, you know the painnn. The pain of being robbed of a salsa and left with guacamole. Cry me a river.

We would rave on and on about her Avocadoes whenever we were at her home. Her Generosity was unmatched, she shared everything. So if you wanted avocadoes, she sent them by almost sackfuls. It was Avocado paradise. Well, when we finally moved into our home, she decided to give us our very own tree. You think she gave us one, not in the least. She came and planted, by herself two avocado trees. All the while, lamenting how she failed to find one exactly like her own. How she knew these ones would not be exactly like hers but would come close. There we were surrounded by avocadoes, true to her word, they were not exactly like the ones she had. They were huge but not the Avocado green. Oh well, we could always get the ones she picked from her home.

One day, I am passing by one of the trees and I notice these unusual orange flowers on it. I was in a hurry, so it was a really cursory glance. I had spotted some creepers trying to strangle our golden duranta, this was closer to the ground. I pulled them out and moved along. When I got back in, I attempted to find the creeper that turned to be an orange trumpet vine but I couldn’t trace it. Immediately, I knew the tree was in danger. Please I cut all my Agriculture lessons, so it was just a sense.

The cancer

My husband quickly identified this lump and we had to cut off the branches that were affected. The lump where the flame vine had attached itself to the branch and started to grow as an Avocado branch. The orange flowers were pretty but they were not avocadoes. That lump just looked like a cancer to me!! While the men were busy sawing off branches and carrying them away, I was running around shouting ‘O my gosh, this is like a cancer!’ while taking pictures and moving closer to observe. Sigh. Sigh. God loves me just this way, is all I am saying.

Why must a cancer be cut out or nuked out of your body? Because it won’t stop growing. It attaches itself to your body and grows with everything else. Only, instead of adding to your beauty, it begins to drain the life out of you. That tree looked bright, all right but that lump is ugly. Also you are not as productive as you need to be. The flowers on avocado tree signal fruit is coming. These flaming orange trumpets look great on a fence but not on a tree.

So it is with sin. Paul writing to the Romans teaches them that the wages of sin is death. When it comes to dealing with sin in our lives, we cannot be complacent. We have to cut it out. You could choose to ignore it, but eventually it chokes you to death.

43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

Mark 9:43 ESV

Pluck it out.

The Author of Wonder

“I don’t believe that the child has yet been born who didn’t look at the world around it with those fresh eyes and wonder.

“If you lose that first wonder, you’ve lost one of the most greatest sources of delight and pleasure and beauty in the whole of the universe. Caring for that brings a joy and enlightenment which is irreplaceable. That is one of the great pleasures of life.”

Sir David Attenborough

I shall begin my trail of thought with this quote from an adorable naturalist. His documentaries taught me so much about a world and allowed me to visit, unbothered by visa applications, these other worlds. I celebrate his work.

There are huge pipes by our road side and the children in my car, are always happy to stop and look at the huge diggers and caterpillars, lift and place pipes into the ground. They crowd around one window and all scream with glee at the diggers!! I, on the other hand, am miffed about the delay in traffic. I sit there wondering when this will all be over and hope none of the pipes falls on my car.

Two kinds of wonder, one full of hope and joy and the other despondent. Growing up, I always thought that hope and joy compounded. Adults, in my view, were the happiest people in the world because they got to do anything they wanted, when they wanted! I hear the loud echoes of laughter fading even as I write that last line.

Time stealers and irrational schemes attack and rob us of hope and joy. They force their way into our memory and cram their bile onto our neural paths. Our wonder is corrupted. It is no longer colorful and cheerful (Tigger) but rather gray and despondent.( Eeyore)

Those honor nature well, who teach she can speak on everything, even on theology.Blaise Pascal

Nature is our gift from God to bring the delight of wonder back. More importantly, to lead us to God.

When I take a moment to consider the different birds, insects and trees in my little village of Kiwanga, I am amazed at the diversity and how they coexist. I recall my biology and science lessons about the different veins in leaves. The different methods of propagation. The different sizes. The different shades of green. The smell of soil after the rain. Our God loves diversity. Our God is an Artist and a Scientist. Our God is beautiful.

One fine day, I found bees buzzing around ,what I thought as, not very impressive flowers. Flowers of one of my palm trees. The bees found these nondescript flowers attractive. Our God is mindful. Our God is the provider.

Bruna, one of our numerous dogs gave birth. The puppies were so different from each other, in appearance and character. Dogs have character. Imagine that. The day we gave away one of the puppies, the rest of the puppies huddled with Bruna, and suckled. Dogs feel. Our God is caring.

Nature will lead us back to God to wonder about Him and His awesomely good and great character. It will cause us to think like the Psalmist,

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
Psalms 8:3‭-‬4 NKJV

Slow down, like a child, smell the roses. Keep your wonder, it will lead you to God.