If you had asked me as a teenager what the streets we explored could become, we could have never imagined what Boat Quay in Singapore is. The inky black river had a smell known around the world at low tide; nobody seemed to care. The small boats unloading cargo from the ships in the harbor reeked of smuggling and contraband. The homes were unkempt, not due to a lack of attention, rather a concession to the filth everyone one looked. The area was fun in the day, they said dangerous at night. Controls maybe, a stronger police presence sure, but rehabilitation? Impossible!
The area is a tourist attraction today. Full of restaurants and small shops, the clean streets and shade trees keep the past hidden from almost all. The smells are of garlic and spices, the water a pale sky blue, and fun filled boats take people up and down the river. The imagination struggles with the past. Words like shady, contraband, and illegal activities are hard to imagine.
As I fly out of town, I watch the lights fade quickly as we escape into the monsoon clouds. When I was young the clean up had started and we all had our doubts. People will never come, we said. This is no longer a place where tourist and business will find exciting! We were so wrong.
Landing in Hong Kong continues the theme. In the old days, you flew between apartments to a narrow strip of land jutting out in the harbor. The city reeked of shady deals and unknown destinations. Some are still here, however the bulk of the city keeps reinventing itself as new on new.
You and I have a fresh opportunity to do what nobody believes possible. Sports teams may look like they are going to loose, but until the final ball is thrown the game is not over! God is waiting with arms open and ready, to recreate us new.
“The lives of good people are brightly lit streets; the lives of the wicked are dark alleys.” (Proverbs 13.9)