Asbury United Methodist Church, Cinnaminson, NJ
Tuesday, July 23, 2024

God Lives Under the Bed

I envy Kevin. 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 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,  return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, a nd later to  bed.


The only variation in the entire  scheme is laundry, 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 hav e a soft  drink, watch the planes land, and speculate 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.


And so goes 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 of power, and he does not care what brand of  clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been  met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.


His hands are diligent. Kevin is  never so 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 Christ, 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 Christianity 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 trust  them to God's care


Who knows if Kevin comprehends  things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that  kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love  of God.


And one day, when the mysteries of  heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our  hearts, I'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!    

When you read this, just say a  prayer. That's all you have to do.

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