My friend Jeanne is visiting me this weekend from Chicago. We have been trying to find time to get together for quite some time, so it is a delight to have her here.
As we were driving to my house yesterday afternoon, she talked about an experience with her son. Their next-door neighbors are an elderly couple who can’t anymore manage shoveling snow and similar tasks. Jeanne’s son has taken the job of keeping their driveway and walkway clear of snow. This winter has been a very snowy – and very cold – one in Chicago. So Jeanne has undertaken to get up with her son early in the morningsto shovel snow with him. Because they are bundled up in heavy coats, hats, and mufflers, they can’t talk while they are doing this job, but do their work together in silence. Jeanne herself knows her being present has significance. And, importantly, as Jeanne, observed, her son knows she is there with him, going through with him what he is experiencing. It is still very cold, and the work is still hard, but he is not alone.
As soon as she said that, I observed that this was a beautiful expression of God with us. God’s promise never was that we won’t have difficulties, never that things wouldn’t be hard (or tiring or cold), but that we would not have to go through it alone. That whatever we undertake, God will experience it right along with us. God’s supportive presence is always there. And that is something we can count on.
Jeanne’s experience gives her a glimpse of what that promise it – what it means for God to give it, and the security that it gives us.
If you look back over your own experiences, perhaps you can catch a glimpse of the same.