God in America


Oh what a wonderful morning! I awoke multitasking in my mind again. You know when you first wake up in the morning and you try to remember what day it is? Once you remember, you mentally tip toe through your day all the places you need to go and all the chores you need to do? Well, slow down! Wake up and sweep your to do list into the broom closet and take time for God. Go to your prayer closet instead.

Thank God for your warm and cozy bed. Thank God He gave you the option for what number you wanted last night. Thank God for the pillow top mattress, the feather bed and the canopy of love He holds over your head. Thank God for those moments of silence that you get to spend with Him before the kids wake up. Then thank Him for those kids that just jumped on your bed to wish you a good morning. Thank Him for the mornings when you don’t have to rush to The Bus Stop and you can just glory in the here and now.

This morning I awoke pondering Heaven and a conversation I had yesterday with a coworker and workmate for God.  It was one of those moments God gives you when someone shares their testimony and your whole life and your whole outlook is turned upside down. We, in America, live in an unlimited and privileged world and we don’t realize it. Some of us hear stories about the old country and they seem unreal.  It took my friend, Nobleman, to smack me in the face with reality.

Nobleman is from Kenya, always a gentleman, always gracious, always willing to help, and he always has a smile on his face. Up until yesterday, Nobleman was a man of few words. But yesterday, Nobleman became enlivened by a scene in a famous movie where people are waving goodbye from an ocean liner. An ocean liner headed to America; the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The conversation that followed would open my eyes. It would uproot my perspective, and make me appreciate what I have even more. What made me even happier was that Joy was in the room and a witness to the words that unraveled my world.

Nobleman told me how so many of his people want to come to America, and how hard it is to come to America from his country. He explained in vivid detail how you could tell who won their way to America. When they walked out of the building they would be elated with hands waving in the air! If they were refused they would be downtrodden and defeated as they exited. As Nobleman described the scene I felt as if I were an invisible witness, feeling heartbreak and jubilation simultaneously.

Nobleman speaks with eloquence, with succinct English, even though it is not his native tongue. The words continue and he describes the plane flight leaving his country and how he and the others waving him goodbye thought he was going to Heaven.

I was shocked. Nobleman told me America is synonymous with Heaven to the rest of the world. No. Unbelievable I thought. Nobleman went on to tell me his trials once he arrived and how hard you had to work to make it in heaven. His preconceptions of life in America were nothing compared to what he was experiencing. Nobleman described his utter shock when he first saw a man on the street holding a cardboard sign in America. America was the land of the free and the brave, it was not supposed to have men with signs needing help.

Nobleman then relayed the daily life of men in his country with such an intensity that once again I felt as if I was there, in a land of few Bus Stops. In his world, people grow their own food on the land that they own. They milk their own cows and they bathe in the river.

It was a Bus Stop God used to open my imbalanced view of the world we live in. God used a man I trusted; a man of regal stature to share a testimony that would rock my world. Nobleman went on to describe his return home and how at his homecoming people expected many gifts from heaven. Nobleman was obligated and obliged. He went on to tell me the questions they asked him about America. What kind of trees did we have? Did we have dirt? What were the roads like?

As I sat in my recliner looking up at Nobleman I wanted to cry. Would I ever have the courage to leave my country to go to his? Are my preconceptions of his country as inaccurate as Nobleman’s were of ours?

Today I contemplate my conversation with Nobleman. Yesterday I arrived at The Bus Stop of epic proportions. It was a Bus Stop that made me think I should appreciate this heaven on earth I live in a little more.

So as I sit here at my computer, wrapped in a warm and cozy blanket tied together and given to me as a birthday gift years ago by Comic Relief, Faith’s best friend, I think how blessed I am. How blessed I am that I am given gifts I don’t expect. How blessed I am I live in America. Yes, it is a little bit like heaven, I guess. I think I should be a little more appreciative of the things I have here that don’t exist as everyday things in a foreign land. I think I should thank God for each morning I have to contemplate His wonders, His majesty and His placement of me on this earth. I think I should sweep less and honor Him more.

Have you ever had a Nobleman pull the rug out from under you? Have you ever just thanked God for where you are, right here and right now? Have you thanked Him for all the gifts you have been given unexpectedly? Have you asked God to bless America and all the other countries in the world?

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