There is much good and beauty in our lives. It does not always seem like it, yet in the middle of our pain, God is present. Despite the absence of hope, the Spirit touches us in ways we cannot anticipate. In times of uncertainty and impending loss, one can find the reality of Compassion surrounding us.
I discovered a fresh sense of hope in the midst of busy Manhattan. The streets in midtown were crowded as the afternoon began to fade. Everyone seemed to have left work early as I headed for yet another meeting. The combination of men and women rushing home with tourists wondering as if each were dazed, lost, and confused turned the streets into a cumbersome maze. In a moment of quiet desperation, I turned west from 5th Avenue onto the first street that appeared less crowded.
There was reason to pause. It was cold and windy. The streetlights were just beginning to come on in anticipation of dusk. The middle of the street was almost empty, except for one rough, dirty, and poorly dressed man. In a stance of apparent contradiction, he was smiling to himself. He was not cold; he was standing on a steam vent. He was not worried about the world around him; he was traveling in the wondering world of imagination only found in a book. As I passed, I could sense him peace and happiness. I found myself blessed, touched by the presence of God.
I found myself stepping in and out of holy grounds. To be in his presence brought hope where there had been fear, peace instead of the burdens I carried, and even compassion. I walked on knowing God had in that moment changed my future.
It does not stop. It is not a singular event. The God I know works on, in your life and mine. God’s words are sure; “I will pour water on the thirsty ground and send streams coursing through the parched earth. I will pour my Spirit into your descendants and my blessing on your children.” (Isaiah 44.3)
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