Photo by me =)
On Wednesday night, we took the kids to church. Sullivan was causing a raucous at the water fountain and so I reminded him of what my father always reminded me of when I acted up in church: This is God’s house. Behave yourself.
Sullivan responded, “This is God’s house? Where is He?”
Lately, I’ve been working on a project that has taken me off the beaten path and onto the Oklahoma road less traveled – by me anyway. One day last week, I traveled down State Highway 33 from Guthrie to Kingfisher. It’s a beautiful drive this time of year. The two-lane highway certainly lends itself to prayer, especially when giant trucks blow by you at high rates of speed. I definitely white-knuckled the steering wheel a few times.
I found myself thinking a lot about my dad. He loved to take drives out in the country and as a little girl, I loved these adventures. By the time I became a teenager, however, I just wanted to sit in the backseat and read a magazine. This really annoyed my dad.
These days, it’s very hard to get my dad out of his wheel chair and into the car. His risk of falling is very high, but I’d sure like to take him for a drive down that road. I know he’d love it.
While working on the same project later in the week, I had to take a drive through parts of Eastern Oklahoma County. There is a lot of crushed spirit in these parts and it hurts to see it all. When God dwells inside us, the things that grieve Him grieve us, I think. This path is not for the faint of heart, and daily, I have to renew my own commitment to walk this way. Somedays, I stop walking. In my finer moments, which are all too rare, I sprint. It is in these moments that I question most deeply my weekly visits to God’s house, which more often than not is full of affluent white people. If there are crushed spirits there, I don’t feel them. At least, not like I do when I’m driving in and around the neighborhoods that have grown up around the Northeast Landfill to which the garbage belonging to some of us, rich and poor alike, finds its way.
The depth of the acquired sorrow of God is equal to our joy. I’m certain of this correlation and I think the tradeoff is quite decent. The more we dwell with the broken hearted, or as the Psalmist writes, help tend to their crushed spirit or partake in the binding up of their wounds the greater our joy will be.
So where does God dwell? At the foothill of the landfill and everywhere else we ask and want and need Him to be.