(I plan, in the near future, to produce a larger piece about St. Lucia and my visit to that lovely little Caribbean gem. For now, let us pray…)
I found God (in verse)
I found God in a rooster’s crow at 4 AM
I found God in a banana tree, glistening with rain droplets
I found God in a cup of cacao-infused tea at breakfast
I found God in the Pitons at sunset
I found God in a smiling worker’s sweat
I found God in a simple black dress with a colorful collar bow
I found God in a passing rain
I found God in a volcano’s bubbling sulphur
I found God in the nightbirds’ chorus
I found God in St. Lucia
God found me
I was only four when my wonderful pastor and father lead me through the Scriptures that depicted Christ’s suffering and death, His boundless love, His singular sacrifice, and His amazing grace. I professed my faith in him then and there and was baptized. I did so again, when I was seventeen, for good measure.
When you are a Christian most all of your life, all of your experiences are tied to that fact. Every mistake I have made, every sin I have committed, every wrong path I have trodden, I have done so as God’s own. He never lost His grip on me, but I surely lost mine on Him a few times.
On a recent trip to the Caribbean, our first, in fact, Donya and I wanted something different than the usual Caribbean paradise fare. We wanted more than Beautiful sunrises and sunsets, white-sand beaches, and opulence. We did not go there to be treated like kings, but to reconnect with the King of kings, with ourselves, and our purpose.
As I reflected on this article, I kept hearing a song from more than a decade ago. It was a signature tune by a group that enjoyed a brief but bright moment in the sun. I could not figure out why that song was playing on a loop in my brain, so I went to Google to find the lyrics. Then, I understood.
I found God
The song is titled “I Found God.” The opening verse and chorus are as follows:
I found God on the corner of First and Amistad
Where the west was all but won
All alone, smoking his last cigarette
I said, “Where you been?” He said, “Ask anything”
Where were you when everything was fallin’ apart?
All my days were spent by the telephone
That never rang and all I needed was a call
That never came to the corner of First and Amistad
Lost and insecure
You found me, you found me
Lyin’ on the floor
Why’d you have to wait?
Where were you? Where were you?
Just a little late
You found me, you found me
The first time I heard the song, catchy and thought-provoking as it was, I think I was offended, probably by the line, “All alone, smoking his last cigarette.”
I thought it felt disrespectful and maybe a little blasphemy-ish. But as I read it for the first time in black-and-white this morning, I thought, Isn’t that just where you find God? In a scorned woman all alone at a well, drawing water in the heat of the day? In a poor widow woman, tossing her last bit of money into the offering plate? In the blind, the lame, the deaf…even the dead, like Lazarus? In a man who once enjoyed immense physical and spiritual strength, blind and sapped of his legendary power, praying for one more moment of strength, one more chance at redemption? In the poor man, begging his supper just outside the gates of the richest man in town?
The songwriter asks out of pain and loss, out of regret over opportunities missed and love lost, “Where were you when everything was falling apart?”
Isn’t that just like us, you and me? We fling our accusations of abandonment and disregard in the face of Deity. We blame Him for allowing us this suffering, for not intervening, for not “making it all better,” for not “making the pain go away.”
“Where were you??? I waited and waited for a sign, for a word from you. Nothing came.”
Then, I hear God answer in the next few lines, “Lost and insecure, you found me, you found me. Surrounded, surrounded, Why’d you have to wait? Where were you? Where were you? Just a little late, you found me, you found me.”
“Surrounded, surrounded…” What a scene! We are surrounded by people, a few who love us, others who loathe us, some who envy us, though most do not know we exist…or care. We are surrounded by beliefs, opinions, advice. Never a quiet moment. No place to escape the clamor, the constant barrage on the senses. Surrounded, I tell you. Surrounded, I scream! We pick out the parts we like best and cling to them, and fling them at others.
Oh, why? Why do I wait until all other avenues are explored, all other options exhausted? Why do I wait until the damage is done? Why do I wait until the trouble I caused is the past and the chance to do better passed? Why do I wait until all I have is God to remember that all I needed all along…was God?
I found God in a place that seems all but primitive compared to even the simplest of American lives. I found him in a place where majestic hillsides are decorated with simple homes, where donkeys and goats graze roadside, where a dollar goes a long way to easing the daily burden, where the people, almost without exception, wear a smile when you pass, where your every request evokes a “No problem” response.
I found that God was there all along, even in Dallas/Fort Worth, where more than seven million lonely souls crowd each other, congest the roadways, fill the suburbs, and dream of an island somewhere in the Caribbean, far away from the trouble and hustle, the alarm clock, the Zoom calls, the gossiping Facebook friends, the fighting, biting, and gnashing of political teeth.
You don’t have to “get away” to find Him. He is right there on the street corner, in the blazing sun and the squinting eyes of the homeless woman, pushing a grocery basket filled with her meager belongings. He is right there in the hopeful eyes of the bald kid, fighting cancer at Cook’s Children’s Hospital. He is there in the empty arms of the widower. He is there in the empty pew on a Sunday morning. He is there, standing in the doorway of the bustling bar teeming with the grinding bodies and booze-addled minds of the lost and lonely on a Saturday night.
You do not have to go to the corner of First and Amistad or to an island in the sea to find God. You just have to look for Him right where you are, wherever you are.