As I was getting settled this morning, I went through some papers that needed to be filed, tossed, or worked on. One went into my “save and dump” file. It’s my system to hold onto things that I’m reluctant to throw out. Each time I add something to the front of it, I take something out of the back. The document to be “dumped” this time was dated October 28, 2004. It was something I had written for inclusion in a devotional book. Before I throw it away, I thought I would share it with you.
Like many of my generation, my children have done more overseas travel that I have. I did however have the privilege in 2001 of visiting the small West African nation of Togo. One morning I was running on their beautiful Atlantic Ocean beach. Lost in my thoughts I kept running and running, until I heard voices inland that seemed to be directed my way. I ignored the voices and kept running. Then a man came running at me waving both arms. He said in broken English, “You have crossed a border. You must stop.” I stopped. I had run from Togo into Ghana. I’m lucky I didn’t get shot. But I didn’t see any line on that beautiful stretch of beach to tell me that I had crossed from one nation into another.
God doesn’t see the lines either. God sees us not as citizens of Togo or Ghana or the United States. We are citizens of heaven. Paul said it: “Our commonwealth is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
A few days after returning home from Togo, the United States was attacked. Ever since that September 11 Tuesday morning, nothing has been the same. Nor will it be for a long time. I remember the patriotic fervor that followed. The flags waving everywhere. Then the relentless march to war. First in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. I shudder to think what is waiting for our nation and for our world and for our children in the weeks and years to come. A terrible genie was unleashed on September 11 that will not be easily returned to a bottle.
As I think about these things, my mind goes back to that day on an African beach in a pre-September 11 world. I think about that simple lesson about no line in the sand. I pray for the day when all God’s children will know that we are one and will live as brothers and sisters.
In Christ, Pastor John Watts