Godís Land

by John C. Westervelt

I start the washing machine, turn, and close the utility door behind me. I receive the first news of the morning on a weather radio. On this same August date in 1936, the temperature climbed to 108 in Tulsa. At this moment, itís 68 degrees outside.

At the patio table, I look beyond my pancakes and the Acts 29 booklet to view the heavy dew on the grass and roses. The wind is calm. Unseasonable August rains have made all the vegetation lush. The zinnias across the back of the backyard create a low wall of gold and purple. I consider my pleasure in owning this piece of land. Then I wonder, "Is this land mine, or is it on loan from God?"

With the cool air keeping me at the table, my mind wanders to the beginnings of this parcel of the earth. Over a billion years ago God began the formation of the earth. Geologists have discovered, from drilling for oil around Tulsa, that many millions of years ago, the lot where my house sits was under a sea. God finally raised it up for the last time and growth began.

Manís claim to land ownership is only recent. The French laid claim to my lot and all the land west of the Mississippi River, extending to the eastern spurs of the Rocky mountains and to the British frontier on the north. In 1803, a wise President Jefferson signed an agreement to purchase the 909,000 square miles for fifteen million dollars. My lot sold for about a penny under this contract.

Later, I found that the Abstract of Title for my lot records the transfer of the land from the United States to the Creek Tribe of Indians in 1852. In 1902 my lot, surrounded by 120 acres next to the Farm Shopping center, was allotted to Claud Wray, a seven year old Creek Indian. An inch-thick stack of papers records other transfers of the deed, and on the final page, dated July 1964, is the transfer to John C. and Nelda J. Westervelt. According to the deed, by manís law, I own this land for this day.

My contemplation continues as I consider Godís dynamic world. Lands moved to new latitudes, so that what once was tropical is now buried underneath Alaska. Pieces of continents subsided below the sea, only to rise again later on. Though I understand that Godís creation is dynamic, as I view the glistening droplets of dew resting uniformly across the lawn, shrubs, and flowers, it all looks so static.

For a moment, I wish my life were static, with all those Iíve ever loved gathered around to quietly sit and enjoy the view. But then God reminds me that He didnít design the world that way, so I might as well get up and get going. Iíll begin with the second load of laundry.

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