My family and I had just arrived in Maputo, Mozambique, from Louisville, Ky., and it was our first trip to town. A bunch of us piled into a double cab truck and bounced over the sand roads until we came to the asphalt roads that led into the city. We had entered a whole new world.
The New World of Mozambique
Houses of sticks and then more buildings of concrete emerged as we drove closer to the city of Maputo. Men and women hung from the sides of pickup trucks catching a ride, and mothers and children dressed in colorful clothes carried baskets and bowls on their heads. The sheer numbers of people on foot astonished me. At one point, we saw a bus just ahead of us hauling packages on the top.
A box fell off the bus onto the road right in front of us, so we pulled over to help. The bus also stopped. The man who owned the box ran back to us, and we handed him the package. We invited him to ride with us, which was better for him than dangling precariously from the side of the bus in front of us and worrying about his package falling off again.
Grateful, our new friend jumped up into the front with his box. He didn’t seem concerned at all that he squished another passenger into the gear shift in the middle. Three grown men and a big box overflowed the two seats up front.
A Funny Surprise
We were already giggling in the back seat when suddenly the box started squawking. The squawks sent us into spasms of laughter! The two front seats were stuffed with three men and squawking chickens in a box. When we looked up at the bus still in front of us, we noticed a baby goat, standing, riding on the top of the bus as if on top of the world. We were not in Kentucky anymore. We were in Mozambique now—a whole new world.
Good Medicine for a New World
The year 2020 ushered in a whole new world, and 2021 another new world. These unprecedented times require huge adjustments. In order to survive the chaos, we need to stay open to fun surprises. We need to laugh when we can—good natured laughter releases stress. All the newness of COVID and lifestyle changes cause anxiety and exhaustion, but let’s try to listen for the chickens in the box, look for the goats on the roof and enjoy the big fluffy mittens on certain slouching senators.
Even in the midst of a pandemic, God gives us gifts. Sometimes the gift is not what we expected, but it is good. We do not know what will be in the next box or what the future holds, but we know God is with us. He will not give us a snake if we ask for a fish (Luke 11:11). God is a good Father, who answers our prayers. He may even give you a box of chickens when you need a good laugh. Laughter is good medicine for the challenges of a new world.