Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The places God lives

I'm in Amarillo tonight.

When I was a kid, Amarillo was the biggest city in the world. At least to me. And as I flew in from the southeast, and saw Palo Duro Canyon out my window (it's the 2nd largest canyon in the country; do you know which is first?), I thought about the places I had lived, and the differences between them.

The Texas Panhandle, where I was born and lived until I was 14, is the flattest land you can imagine, with only mostly dry riverbeds interrupting the plains. Two trees together constitutes a forest.

The south central part of Oklahoma, where I sojourned like Jesus in Egypt as a baby, is a beautiful piece of hill country. Hills and bottoms, with a little town on the top of every hill. And I loved how those little towns consolidated their school districts--Velma, Alma, Loco, Weed, etc all towns that went to my school. And I still only had 25 classmates.

The Permian Basin is like half desert, half plains. And flatter than the panhandle. Okay, so I lived in Hobbs, NM, but let's be honest--it's really Texas. We would run to Texas and back during off-season football; it was only 2 miles to the border.

The El Paso desert and Franklin Mountains remain one of the most beautiful places in my mind. The city wrapping around the mountains, the twinkling night-lights that Marty saw from the sky--El Paso's beauty must be looked for, but when you do find it--wow, it's awesome!

San Antonio and the hill country are perfect in October, when leaves start to turn (as much as they can in Texas), and we're still working on learning the north Texas tastes.

But the greatest thing about every one of those places is that God lives there. David said you can't escape from his presence--and he was right.

One of the greatest books of the 20th century was "The Divine Conspiracy" by Dallas Willard. In it he discusses the kingdom of heaven. We have this bad tendency to think of heaven as "way out there." God lives way out there in heaven. But truthfully, heaven is like atmosphere, it is the air we breath, it is all around us.

And God lives there.

1 comment:

pablo said...

I saw lots of God in El Paso. Even when I lived in beautiful northern California, and now in the rolling hills of Tennessee, the beauty of El Paso still haunts me. It took me 5 years to find it, but when I did it suddenly became my beloved hometown. I don't know if I'll ever live in one place 17 years again, so my memories will always take me there. I love the Southwest!