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Mambo Sawa Sawa

Mambo sawa sawa
Mambo sawa sawa
Yesu akiwa enzini
Mambo sawa sawa

Everything is okay
Everything is okay
When Jesus is on the throne,
Everything is okay.

My parents are here visiting, and one evening, my friend Alyssa asked my mom about the years my family lived in Liberia and Ethiopia, particularly the stories of how we left--because it was all pretty dramatic.

When I was 13, war descended on Liberia, destroying the place that was home. We were in the States when it happened, and for months we kept thinking, This will all blow over and we will go back. But it didn't blow over for 15 years, and we lost our home and our stuff and our plans, which really was peanuts compared to the Liberians who lost limbs or children or sanity. We were then re-assigned to Ethiopia, only to have my brother and mom evacuated on the last plane out of Addis while my dad stayed behind and dodged bullets while the government was overthrown. (I was at boarding school a country away.)

I experienced these stories from a young teen's perspective, and I heard them re-told many times as I grew older. But what struck me about them this time was my mom's emphasis that both times in both countries, the missionaries didn't believe the worst would really happen. Of course, the Liberians and the Ethiopians saw it coming. But the missionaries were overly optimistic. Surely God won't bring war here! We're doing his work; it's all going great, surely he wouldn't want it to end!

Trusting God? Or just naive? Either way, the bombs fell.

It seems to me like there's something within my generation's American Christian culture that assumes, God would never let that happen to me. Is it because of our optimism? Or entitlement? The sense that we really are in control of our lives?

There is a whole lot of uncertainty in my life right now. What I assumed was a neat and straightforward path for our family for the next couple of years is no longer so clear. We've been faced with this uncertainty for the past couple of months, but for a while I had a fair degree of confidence that it would all work out. Now, I'm not so sure.

There are no rumors of war in Tanzania, so that's not what I am insinuating. But there are a number of circumstances we are facing that make our future feel....uncertain. Yet I find myself thinking: We're doing God's work; it's all going great, surely he wouldn't want it to end!

And I wonder if I'm trusting God...or just being naive.

Why is my world always shaken when uncertainty surfaces? After all, isn't life always uncertain? When I think it's not, aren't I just deceiving myself? Why do I think, God would never let that happen to me! Because God does not owe me anything.

The worries settle themselves in my stomach and remind me, daily, that my life is uncertain. I beg God for a happy ending, for neat little bows wrapped up on the ends of those problems, but that is never promised to me. Maybe God will do the miraculous and that would be awesome. But what if he doesn't? What if everything is not okay?

There has to be a type of trusting God that is not naive. Not an entitled trusting, because I can't assume he will do things my way. But a settled trusting that comes from his character--that he is there, and he is good, and he has it under control.

Mambo sawa sawa
Yesu akiwa enzini

Because Jesus is on the throne, everything is okay.



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