Years ago, in what seems like a former life, I was working at a sports medicine clinic while training to be a Physical Therapist. I loved it: assessing and treating different types of injuries on different kinds of athletes; meeting new people about every 30 minutes or so; and learning from dedicated professionals who loved their work and were considered experts in their field.
Toward the end of my time there, I was scheduled to treat a fairly new injury. Even though this client had been to the clinic before, he was new to me. After reviewing his history (which seemed vaguely familiar) and doing my own assessment, I performed the treatment as outlined by my supervising physical therapist. We chatted easily as I treated him, and, in the back of my mind, I could not shake the feeling that I felt like I knew him from somewhere. Later in the day, as I completed his chart, I realized that the client was a famous athlete who who played for one of the cityʼs professional teams! An uneasiness settled over me as I realized how completely casually I had treated this man…as if he was just an average client on a normal day! I will never forget my teenage brotherʼs incredulous look, followed by a groan of disgust, and his shaking head falling into his hands as he tried to come to terms with the fact that I had been in the presence of such greatness and I didnʼt even realize it!
Itʼs an ongoing problem for me….missing things. I’m a super Type-A personality, so in the haste of my days and in my desire to do so much and do it well, I think I often miss the beauty of the little things, the greatness of the inconsequential, the extraordinary of the ordinary. I look but donʼt see. In short, I often miss what God is up to because Iʼm so focused on what I’m up to.
I remind myself of Jacob in the Bible. He had stopped during a journey, slept a while and, dreamt of a staircase going to up heaven with angels going up and down on it. When he woke up, he said, “Surely God is in this place and I did not know it.” I’ve been mulling that over and over in my mind lately in relation to my own life. How often do I completely miss God in the various places of my life?
A story forwarded to me on email the other day brought this to the forefront again. A man was playing a violin in a metro station. Few people, if any, even took notice of him. Almost everyone who passed him hurried on without even a glance toward him. Interestingly, it was children who seemed to take a moment to ponder him, but they were pulled or pushed on by hurrying parents (in fact, one mother actually had to step in between her son and the violinist to block his line of sight so that he would keep moving). A few people dropped money in his hat. At the end of the day the man had made $32.00. The violinist was Joshua Bell, a famous musician, who was playing a violin worth $3.2 million and whose playing often commanded $1000.00/minute. The Washington Post had placed him in the metro as an experiment to see if we perceive beauty in a commonplace environment. Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize it in an unexpected context?
This is exactly what I wonder about God’s grace and the gospel in the everyday. Do I see Him in my commonplace environment? Do I stop to appreciate His grace in the unexpected context of the messiness and chaos and mundaneness that is often my life? And, perhaps more importantly, am I helping other people whose lives I influence to see it and appreciate it? Am I stopping long enough in the business of my days to point my children to the grace of the gospel and to where God is working in their lives as I see it in the everyday? Or am I yanking their arms or pushing them hard, (it hurts to say it) stepping in between them and God to block their line of sight so that we all miss the beauty and the wonder of it? Am I throwing long irritated glances or snapping at my husband to hurry along when he stops to enjoy moments of Godʼs goodness and beauty? Am I pointing out God’s goodness and hand to friends who need to see it, or am I offering self-help and lame excuses– throwing a few coins in the “proverbial violin case” instead of encouraging them to stop and listen?
Thatʼs what I hope to grapple with in this blog. I’ll be blogging about seeing God and his grace in the daily of my life….not just in mountaintop or cavern experiences, but in all the seemingly inconsequential and very ordinary moments in between that comprise our days…from here ʻtil Sunday.
The mission of Intersection is to help our readers to see how the gospel of Jesus intersects & transforms all of life in a very real way. Our goal is to destroy the false & harmful dichotomy between 'the sacred' & 'the secular' by presenting a wide range of perspectives that focus on different aspects of life in the city. These stories, reflections, observations, & opinions all have one thing in common—the shared conviction that every arena of life can be holy & beautiful when it is lived out in full awareness of the gospel & in full submission to the leadership of Jesus. Although the Intersection team loves, values, & supports all of its contributors, the views expressed in their posts are ultimately their own & may not necessarily reflect the beliefs & values of New City Church.