My wife and I were traveling in Eastern Europe with another couple several years ago. When we crossed the border from Hungary to Romania, three burly, rough-looking soldiers boarded the train to check our passports and examine our luggage. Their leader indicated that he wanted to see our passports. As we handed them to him, he pointed to our luggage. As I rose to reach for a large suitcase, he suddenly stopped me. In broken English, he said, "Wait! You not American!" Then he looked at the woman who was traveling with us and said, "You not American."

I must confess I was gripped by a vise of fear. The man pointed to a paper bag our friend had on the seat beside her. "What is that?" he asked, pointing to the edges of a book that protruded out of the top of the bag. She pulled out her Bible. I gulped, thinking to myself, "Now, we are in real trouble."

The soldier took the Bible and began to leaf through its pages. He opened to the second chapter of Ephesians and pointed to verse 19. He ordered: "Read." We read aloud, "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God."

Instantly, the soldier's face radiated with a benevolent smile as he said: "You not American. I not Romanian. We are citizens of heaven." Then he turned to his fellow troops and said, "These people okay." He returned our passports and bade us Godspeed.

Coram Deo

Thank God for your citizenship in heaven.

For Further Study