Mat 6:33a “But seek you first the Kingdom of God…”
Where is God…
My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed.
At least that’s what I heard him say one night. He was
praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped
outside his closed door to listen.
“Are you there, God?” he said. “Where are you?”
“Oh, I see. Under the bed.” I giggled softly and tiptoed
off to my own room. Kevin’s unique perspectives are
often a source of amusement. But that night something
else lingered long after the humor. I realized
for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a
result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size
(he’s 6-foot-2); there are few ways in which he is an
adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities
of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably
always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa
Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every
Christmas, and that airplanes stay up in the sky because
angels carry them.
I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is
different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous
life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop
for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel,
returning to eat his favorite macaroni and cheese for
dinner, and later to bed. The only variation in the
entire scheme are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly
over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn
child. He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to
the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple
work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water
boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late
twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next
day’s laundry chores.
And Saturdays – oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That’s the day
my dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink,
watch the planes land, and speculates loudly on the
destination of each passenger inside. “That one’s goin’
to Chi-car-go!” Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His
anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
I don’t think Kevin knows anything exists outside his world of
daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn’t know what it
means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never
know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does
not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of
food he eats. He recognizes no differences in people,
treating each person as an equal and a friend. His needs
have always been met, and he never worries that one day
they may not be. His hands are diligent.
Kevin is never as happy as when he is working. When he
unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart
is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when
it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is
finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how
to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work
of others. His heart is pure. He still believes
everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and
when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free
from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is
not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is
always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to
God, he comes as a child.
Kevin seems to know God-to really be friends with
Him in a way that is difficult for an “educated” person to
grasp. God seems like his closest companion. In my
moments of doubt and frustrations with my religion,
I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is
then that I am most willing to admit that he has some
divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.
It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with
the handicap; I am.
My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances – they
all become disabilities when I do not submit them to God.
Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn?
After all, he has spends his whole life in that kind of
innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the
goodness and love of the Lord. And one day, when the
mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at
how close God really is to our hearts, we’ll realize
that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed
that God lived under his bed. Kevin won’t be surprised at all.
Mat 18:3, 4 “Assuredly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.