Shoppers Beware & Lice!
When we were looking at different places to live a few weeks back, we really liked the place we ended up renting. It was bigger than we thought we were able to afford (missionary salaries being what they are) and was in an area that we like. It is close to a few Americans we know, it is close to a few families that also work for Campus Crusade, it is close to the kids’ friends, it has a balcony with a view that will be great for spending time with visitors, and the owners were willing to install a wood stove for us (which we purchased at a great price from our American friends). We were willing to trade a place in the center of the city (which would have required much less walking) for a bigger place further from the center so we could have space for Bible studies, home-schooling, etc. Even though it comes without air conditioning, a heater, a dishwasher or a clothes dryer, most of those things are too expensive to use anyway. The price per kilowatt hour for electricity is significantly higher in Albania than in the US so we wouldn’t have gotten to use those things (other than the dishwasher) much anyways. The owners were originally asking for a lot more than we could afford, so we were really happy when they were willing to accept the price we offered that was in our budget.
But if you look closer you will notice some problems. The refrigerator that looks so nice on the outside, has a problem on the inside: it doesn’t really make/keep things cold. It takes about a day for drinks to get somewhat cold. Cheese and vegetables all look weary fast. Raw meat spoils within 24 hours and makes the whole fridge and everything in it smell like a dumpster. As pretty and spacious as the refrigerator is, it doesn’t do the one thing we need it to do very well at all.
The nice sink with three compartments also holds a little secret, down below the sink it leaks. It is not a leak that you can put a bucket under, but seems to be coming out of the wall and when we have running water we wake up to puddles all over the ktchen floor. And when we leave towels under the sink they get moldy very fast because of the humidity.
You know the stove with six burners, only two of them are actually working and they are the electric ones in the middle. You know, the smallest two that spend the most money to heat unevenly, slowly and sporadically. All the things you are hoping for when cooking. The gas tops don’t light anymore the way they are supposed to. We have a “bumbula” (gas tank) inside, but to use it we would have to manually light the stove with matches and hope that everything else is working properly so we don’t blow up. Which we may try at some point, but after we learn enough Albanian to tell the doctors at the hospital what happened. 🙂
As for the beautiful, shiny cabinets, they are already falling apart. The part of the cabinets that shine on the outside is really just glued on! So as you can imagine, pieces of it fall off at random times. Which isn’t a big deal really, but it leads me to my point of sharing this all with you.
Actually, let me tell you one more thing about week 7. It was filled with lice! The neighborhood girls all have lice and Savannah and Sophia are no exception. Since the beginning of week 7 we have spent hours looking for lice. Eve has done most of the searching as she has worked tirelessly for hours each day looking for the tiny bugs and their eggs. We have never had lice before and we are so thankful for that fact. The laundry has to be done constantly (which is a problem when you don’t have much water). The girls beds have been stripped down. Their poor heads have been shampooed so many times. And why? All to get rid of the tiny little pests that you can’t even see unless you are standing right over them searching.
So why do we do it? Why do we spend hours out of every day searching for each and every nit and bug? Because every egg that is missed, turns into a bug, and the bugs bite and tear up the poor girls heads. Its amazing how much damage the little critters can do- feeding off of the girls heads.
Okay, you get it. Having lice is no fun and having a kitchen that looks great on the outside but doesn’t work on the inside is worthless. But over the last week we started thinking about the spiritual implications.
Look at Jesus telling the Pharisees and scribes, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (Matthew 23:27, NASB).” Sounds like our kitchen, doesn’t it? The Pharisees looked good, but to God, they were worthless and dead.
So let us ask the question (we’ll ask it of ourselves and we’ll let you ask it for your family), when we are working on our “kitchen,” are we just trying to make sure things look good on the outside for men, or are we offering ourselves as living sacrifices that are available for God’s use? Quite a difference, right?
As for the lice, they are a perfect example of sin (and the little critters just seem evil anyways). Lice are extremely difficult to get rid of and it takes painstaking work and focus and God’s help to rid yourself of all of them. If you don’t address the lice or if you only half-heartedly try to get them out, they will continue to grow and eat at you indefinitely. We tried three different lice shampoos to try to get rid of them in a quick fix manner. But as hard as we tried to follow the directions on the bottle and scrubbed their scalps, the quick fix never worked. The lice were alive and well and reproducing. It wasn’t until we went through the girls’ hair, strand by strand, hoping to expose the bugs and remove them one by one that we saw any progress at all. So too, our sin must be brought to light and exposed for the evil that it is. It must be treated with the same ferocity and precision. God’s people have to search out the sin in their hearts and pluck it out. If you let sin go unremoved it will grow, multiply and wreak havoc.
Praise God that we have a Father who loves us! He makes life of the dead bones. He renews and changes hearts. His Light shines in the darkness and He empowers us to overcome the sin. And it is by His power and the mirror of His Word that we can see sin for what it is and expell it.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11, NASB)