Having just completed his first day of school, five-year-old Jackson pushed open the door to McDonald's, ready to celebrate the event with a milkshake with his parents.
“Find us a table over there,” his mother said, steering him towards a line of seating along the windows while she supposedly got ready to order the shakes. Obediently, Jack trudged in that direction, looking for an empty spot. He noticed an older couple already seated at a table, smiling hugely at him. Suddenly he recognized them as his beloved grandma and grandpa who had driven the thirteen hours from their home to celebrate with him! He stared at them for a minute, trying to process, and when he realized they had come to share in his special day he jumped up and down for joy and then leapt into their arms where he was enveloped in their hugs, kisses and love. It is hard to watch the video of the event on social media without laughing and crying along with them, it is such a picture of love.
Maybe the moment moved me so because it is such a perfect picture of how God wants to share in all our special moments, whether they be happy or sad. He sits in the corners of our lives, smiling in anticipation, waiting for us to notice Him so that He can rejoice with us or comfort us. And he traveled so much farther than a mere thirteen hours to do so!
I live for such “unexpected encounters” that occur when I'm going along on an ordinary day until something causes me to suddenly see God in the moment! It could be a sentence spoken out loud that triggers a forgotten idea, a picture, a memory...the words of a song. Whatever the source, it causes me to pause and process the thought for a minute...and then rejoice as waves of recognition and revelation wash over me and I feel His love and presence once more. Nothing compares!
Not realizing his grandparents' object was to surprise him, Jackson thought he had simply forgotten they were coming. Don't we tend to do the same? God told us that He would send the Comforter to us...and He didn't mean it to be just a one-time event on the Day of Pentecost! No, the Holy Spirit is here to stay, to fill our days with His Presence and our hearts with joy. Perhaps the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is in the Bible just for the purpose of reminding us that God still walks beside us on a daily basis, listening to our list of woes, comforting our hearts and explaining what's going on in our lives...perhaps disguised just for the surprise that awaits when we recognize Him in the end!
Those disciples remembered how their hearts were burning within them while they were walking with Jesus (Luke 24:32). Couldn't you stand to have your heart warmed today? Look around; He's there.
“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”
(Psalm 27:14 AMP)