I happily cruised along the snowy roads on my way home from work this afternoon, having unexpected extra time from getting off early. Just as I was driving down a hill, I noticed a school bus ahead with its red lights flashing. Mildly annoyed, I slowed and prepared to stop.
And then I noticed the wheelchair lift appearing from the side of the bus. The young girl who appeared to have cerebral palsy, helpless as the mechanics gently lowered her to the ground. The dad, meeting her in the cold and snow, to bring her back into the safety and warmth of their home. He stood for a moment talking to the bus driver.
And I no longer cared that I had to wait.
Earlier in the day a woman sat down in the chair next to me in the doctor’s office, one of many patients that morning. She turned to me and shared that her sister’s heart stopped while driving last week. That she is on life support and not responding well. They’re ready to pull the plug, she said. But she looked at me with hopeful eyes as she mentioned that they saw a little improvement yesterday, just a tiny movement, a glimmer of a response.
And I remembered how fragile and precious is life.
The Christmases of these two families won’t be like the picture-perfect holidays I keep seeing on the TV commercials. But I have a feeling there will be a supernatural thread of grace woven through them that is missing from the superficial media ideals.
A Scrooge could look at their situations and question if God is in the midst. And because I am not in the exact situations, I don’t know how I would react to those crosses. But on the outside looking in, I see God there. I see Him in the love the father showed his handicapped daughter. I see Him in the miracle of the doctor who just happened to be in the car ahead of the patient’s sister, who performed CPR while waiting on the rescue squad.
When trials come, sometimes we wonder if God is really in the midst of it all. But things aren’t always the way they appear. He is there if we have the eyes to see. Always loving, always comforting, always caring and working in ways unseen.
Just as long ago He was in the midst of a stable—where things definitely weren’t the way they appeared. Who would have thought a baby in a manger could be the Savior of the world?
Emmanuel. God-with-us, indeed.