That you still have a reason to sing
Because the pain that you've been feeling
Can't compare to the joy that's coming
Hang on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
Because the pain that you've been feeling
Is just the dark... Before the morning
These are the words of the chorus of before the morning by Josh Wilson. It's one of those songs for me that I like for a period of time then forget it exists just to rediscover it a couple years later and it makes so much sense again. I was scrolling through my list of albums to find a song to listen to the other when I came across this song in Josh Wilson's self-titled album. And it brought back so many fond memories of 2009 but it did more than that; it made me realize that I was really optimistic for the future. Not in a Bob Marley "Every little thing's gonna be alright" kind of way or a singing on your balcony to the backing of birds kind of way, cow that might be a bit awkward, right?! I was optimistic in full understanding, as far as that can go, of the future struggles.
Let me break down a few of the problems before I break down why I'm optimistic. I am Zambian and have every intention of living and working in my home country for the foreseeable future. However things in Zambia are not exactly rosey, the economy isn't looking good, there is an energy crisis, jobs are supposedly hard to come by. That and a couple more issues. There is also uncertainty about my own future; university is close to being over and the real world awaits with its troubles and responsibilities and I will have to face that sooner rather than later. That's a chunk of the iceberg but this isn't about the dark, it's about the morning, so let's get down to that.
Just one more bit before what I'm optimistic about. It's all well and good to be optimistic but why should one be optimistic? Why am I? I'm optimistic because I am seeing a thread that begins at my faith and ends everywhere, in all I do. I'm not sure if it's correct to say it wasn't there before but it is definitely really strong now. I am a Christian and I believe in the God who created the world in six days, rested on the seventh and sent his son to die for the sin, salvation and redemption of his people. You might say "yeah, sure thing. But what has that got to do with anything?" It has to do with EVERYTHING but this is more clear in what I am optimistic about. So let's get down to that.
I am optimistic about my working life. Not in that I think I will become the richest man in Zambia, I don't care about that. Or that I will revolutionize Zambian architecture, I kinda care about that. But it's more, I'm optimistic about my career because I see it as an opportunity to share my faith, my life and my God through my work and work ethic. We all show things about us in how we go about certain duties and tasks and I look forward to showing how my God has changed me n the way I operate. Strictly speaking that reason is 50-50 with my survival as a reason to work. But there's more
I'm optimistic about my relationships. Unfortunately in this day and age, my one reader, your mind immediately went to a romantic relationship. Two reasons why this cannot be is that I don't plan on having multiple romantic relationships and the other is if I limit myself to the one normal relationship I miss the point and importance to the life mission. I'm optimistic about my relationships because they are the other avenue through which I show the the world my faith, my life and my God. Everyone who sees me and gets to know me should see the light of God in me and I am looking forward to showing more people that. I look forward to my siblings, parents and extended family seeing it. I look forward to my employers, workmates and potential employees seeing it. And I look forward to my wife to be and children to be seeing it. BUT THERE'S MORE
I'm optimistic about my ministry. Now, now hold your horses, don't get ahead of me. I am not saying I feel a call to any sort of Pastorate but there is more to ministry than being a pastor. If I were to paraphrase I would say that I am optimistic about my serving God through the church directly. I feel there is more that I can do, I feel like the guy with the two talents and the boss is on a trip, I want to spend it and be spent with it in service of the boss. I want to run and use the energy of youth while I have it. I want to learn both from the bible and from my elders so that when the moment comes for me to pass on knowledge I will not be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
You see my optimism stems not from an inherent belief that I will be awesome at all I do, it stems from a belief that if I serve God and glory in his service he will be glorified in my service of him. My optimism doesn't come from a belief that I have this massive set of skills that the world hasn't seen yet and will set the world on fire it comes from a belief that I am a piece of charcoal in the hands of the greatest painter of all time, who lives outside of time, and by his grace he will turn this brittle stubborn piece of charcoal into a reflection of his glory. I'm optimistic because of him because I am dust. In my final few months in North Cyprus I am optimistic because of him