This was Anita and my 3rd trip to Namaqualand. For a short period this normally arid area becomes covered with a kaleidoscope of colour during the flowering season. This is known throughout South Africa as the Namaqualand daisy season, when orange and white daisies, as well as hundreds of other flowering species, spring up from a previously barren landscape. 15 years ago we were too early. Last year we were too late. This year we were ‘just right’, exactly during the time the locals told us to come, the third weekend in August during early spring. For the best views we needed to travel from north to south, as the flowers turned towards the sun for warmth.
Anita and I had 10 wonderful days. After our guesthouse in Naries, near the town of Springbok, we travelled to a tented lodge. Only 7 tents, without power but we did have Wi-Fi and leg of lamb that evening. I love leg of lamb. The next morning a rather chilly wind blew and I decided to ‘lie in’ under the thick duvet and not have my normal ‘quiet time’ – as Anita said, “God will understand”. We waited for the flask of hot water to be delivered to the tent for our coffee.
After breakfast we travelled to the town of Niewoudtville, the bulb capital of the world. The town lies on the Bokkeveld Escarpment, and was established in 1897. We booked accommodation for 3 nights on a wonderful farm called Papkuilsfontein about 28 km from town. We stayed in an old ‘bywonershuisie’ (farm workers house) again without power and this time no Wi-Fi. I checked my last mail and news before arriving on the farm (24 Aug) and saw the Rand plummet to R14 / US$ and shares falling across the board. Not good news, especially if you are on holiday – the cares and the worries of this world (and fear of the future) creeping into my heart.
That afternoon we settled into our accommodation, checked how the gas, candles and fireplace worked and Anita decided to take a nap, while I caught up with my quiet time. I prayed with a heavy heart, about the Rand’s collapse, about the shares that I have invested in just the week before, and now dropped so much and the future of our country. Surely the Lord knew what was going to happen last week? Why did He not stall my share purchases for a few days to ‘pick them up’ at a better price? All our imports will now be much more expensive, and we don’t have all the foreign exchange (forex) cover in place I would have liked to have. My reading from God Calling (24 Aug) “I am your deliverer. Trust in Me absolutely…Know that with Me all things are possible. Cling joyfully to that truth” did little to lift my dark mood. All the cares and the worries of this life. Actually, to put it mildly, I was depressed.
After my time of prayer and reading I felt a strong urge to go for a walk. I picked up my camera and little travel bible which I put into the back pocket of my jean. I went for a long walk, crossed a little stream and marvelled at the wild flowers and the magnificent and unusual rock formations. While walking I continued my talk with God, moaning about my circumstances. I explained to Him how I felt, thanked Him for carrying us through similar times before when the Rand devalued in 1985 after PW Botha’s Rubicon speech; the Asian crisis of 1998; after 9/11 in 2001 and again in 2008 during the financial crisis. But somehow I felt that this time might be different. Will God help us yet again like He did in the past? I felt the doubt and panic beginning to build in my heart and mind and in addition I saw rainclouds beginning to build.
All of a sudden I stopped at a magnificent rock with large overhangs. I thought that if I had to pick one place to hide in case it should rain, this would be the rock I would choose. I stood for a few minutes, marvelling at this amazing rock and felt an urge to read a Psalm. I took out my little bible and flipped it open. Immediately my eyes fell on the words…
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge… I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise.” Ps 18:2+3.
My heart jumped and I knew that this was God speaking to me. How personal is this! He had a date with me in Namaqualand, to show me that He still loved me and that He is my rock and my fortress in whom I can take refuge, notwithstanding all my (perceived) problems and that I can trust Him wholeheartedly to help and protect me. In fact, I have absolutely nothing to fear.
A month later the Rand has strengthened again, our forex forward cover is in place and the share prices have increased. I have nothing to fear because God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He alone is worthy of praise.
Together with David I can only say … ”I love you, O Lord, my strength.”