My birth certificate says that I was born in Fort Cobb, Oklahoma, and the same information can be found on my American passport.
Fort Cobb was established as a U.S. Army frontier post in Indian Territory in 1859, and later, in 1899, the town itself was founded, a mile away. When I was born in 1935, the town boasted a population of close to 700, but by 2010, according to the Census, the population had dwindled to 634. Fort Cobb was never destined to become a great metropolis.
So, I am from this tiny, unknown place in the Washita River Valley, in Caddo County, Oklahoma. My family left there in the winter of 1938, when I was barely two years old, and I have returned only one time. As a young adult, I went back with my Mom, brother, and sister for a nostalgic visit. I saw the house where I was born, and visited “Miss Pearl,” who taught my brothers and sisters in the little one room school house all those years ago. The visit recalled many wonderful memories for my Mother.
I wasn’t especially glad to be from Oklahoma. Years ago, people here in the west sort of looked down on those from Oklahoma and Arkansas. Maybe they were comparing us to the Jode Family in the “Grapes of Wrath.” Kids in my kindergarten class called me an Okie. When I complained to Mama, she said, “Well, you are an Okie!
Even at the age of five, I knew that taunt was not a compliment.
After having lived in California and around the world for half my life, I am now ensconced in Arizona with no plans to leave. I am no longer sure where I am from, but I have decided that the important question is not “Where are you from, but where are you going?”
This question reminds me of an acquaintance of mine. Dave, who had been a faithful overseas missionary for many years, was at the time, living in the U.S. Sunday morning, on the way home from church, he was involved in a head-on collision, and died instantly.
When His son went to the mortuary to make funeral arrangements, the director took him through the building showing him caskets from which he could choose. He looked at the beautiful oak boxes, the burnished bronze, the ones with cushy interiors, and one by one he rejected them. “No,” he said. “That’s not for my father.”
Finally, giving up, the mortician said, “Well, all I have left are these pine boxes that we keep for transients.”
Dave’s son said, “That’s it! That’s what my father would want. He was not a citizen of this world. He was a transient just passing through.”
There is an old song we used to sing when I was a child.
“This world is not my home. I’m just a passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door.
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
O, Lord, you know, I have no friend like you.
If heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do ………..?”
When Governor Pilate asked Jesus, “Where are you from,” Jesus gave no answer, for he had already told Pilate that His Kingdom is not of this world. Following His resurrection, Jesus went back to that kingdom to prepare a place for His followers.
We are living in very uncertain times. Our government is in an upheaval. It is difficult to know who is telling the truth. It spite of my great love for America, and my thankfulness to be an American, it is impossible to be proud of what’s going on in our land today. AND—it is difficult to be optimistic about the future of this country.
I will keep praying and hoping and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, and living the life of a good American citizen, but I am ever so glad to know where I am going. No matter how good or bad this life has been to me, this world is not my permanent home.
You may have been born in a mansion with a silver spoon in your mouth. Your ancestors may have arrived on the Mayflower. You may be a political great, or a billionaire, but background is not your life raft. The question is not where you come from, but where are you going.
John 14:2-3: Jesus said, “…I go to prepare a place for you…I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
One day Christ’s kingdom will come to this earth, and those who have been faithful will share in His Kingdom. What a day that will be!
REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!