Walking the streets of Portland is an interesting contrast to Chicago and New York. New York is an open, yet cautious, bubbly yet guarded, aggressive and standing its ground yet never quite making full eye contact, type of place. Chicago has, at least to the casual observer, less of the visible arrogance yet is as driven, compulsive, and obsessed as New York. Portland on the other hand is still a small town that is happy with itself.
Where else would you find a group of kids happily marshaled by two adults walking through downtown singing off-key Christmas carols? On the next corner another small band was setting up to welcome visitors with even more Christmas music. Teenagers gathered around a Starbucks, sharing lattes and the latest school gossip. The combination of squeaky clean faces, modest dress, and helpful hotel staff was almost too good to be true! I know everything is not the same under the surface however the visuals were in stark contrast to the streets of New York.
For some the opportunity to gloss over the awareness of evil is too good to be true. People talk eloquently about the clean city, wholesome atmosphere, and opportunities. Somehow they forgot about the high unemployment, the impact of being driven by self, and the tendency in all of us to exploit relationships around us. If you looked between the lines and into the eyes of the people in downtown Portland you could see all of this and more. The hunger to be part of something, the need for acceptance and love, the search for something that represents hope was a mirror of any city one might wander through.
The fact is that “God doesn’t miss a thing – he’s alert to good and evil alike.” (Proverbs 15.3) He knows exactly what is going on. He sees the evil that surrounds and permeates your life and mind and hates it with a passion that we can only imagine! God also sees the potential in you and me. He loves us with even more passion.
God loves you.