I never love America more than when I’ve returned home after traveling abroad.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Belgium on business. Upon my return, I had a renewed appreciation for all the freedoms and luxuries that we too often take for granted. It is the little things that I miss ... things like sweet tea and ice! I have yet to travel to another country that uses ice as liberally as we do. If you are lucky and plead your case with your waiter you might get one cube in your glass. Of course, within minutes the luke warm beverage melts the lonely cube and you are left with room temperature, fizz-less soda. Yuck! After a few days, I just gave up and started drinking warm water. ):
I missed good-ole American fast food! One night we ate at a restaurant that originally had been a horse barn. Hmm ... that should have been my first clue! I noticed an item (although in Dutch) that piqued my interest: horse steak. I had to ask ... Was that really horse? Oh my gosh! It couldn’t be. Could we possibly be eating filet of Trigger? I asked and my fears were confirmed. It was indeed horse! I was mortified. I made it crystal clear that I wanted cow (“moo moo”) steak. I will assume that is what I was served. I honestly do not want to know. I’m happy believing it was cow. I’m not sure why it is OK to eat cow and not horse, but it just is ... at least in Eastern North Carolina.
One of the benefits of business travel to other countries is the opportunity to visit interesting cities. We managed to squeeze trips to two major cities: Brussels and Antwerp. On the train ride back from Brussels I saw a sign over one of the buildings near the train station that read, “JESUS LEEFT.” I had to Google “leeft” in Dutch to see if it had the same meaning as “left” in English. What do you know, it did. My initial reaction to the sign was no wonder he leeft! It rains every day. It is freezing.After a few dreary days of horse steaks and warm coke he was probably ready to try a new area. And I didn’t even mention that there were no Diet Mountain Dews or Doritos. I’ve decided I could make a fortune introducing the Dutch to junk food. No wonder they are disgustingly thin and healthy. They need some grease in their diet. It will keep their coats shiny! These are the things I tell myself to make me feel better.
I’m not sure what the sign “Jesus Leeft” meant or why it was written on that building. It did cause me to stop and take notice. I thought about how the world is quick to mock Christians, saying that we are building our lives on this God that we have never seen before. They want to know why He has not come back. If He is for real then when is He coming back. The answer the Lord gives to that is that “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) The only reason God is waiting is not to extend our suffering and pain but to extend his mercy to more people who can find his truth. Amen!
The world may say that Jesus Left (or “leeft”, depending on where you are from). They may paint it on their doorposts and proclaim it in the city streets. But in my heart, I trust his promise that is soon returning!