Devotion: Getting a Glimpse of God

May 6, 2020

“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” Isaiah 66:13

Sometimes the simplest things bring us comfort when distressed.  I have heard someone refer to these as “God glimpses”, when one gets a glimpse of God present in our lives.  My husband shared one of these simple stories with me yesterday. 

He is a chaplain in a hospital.  This hospital has a wonderful lobby area where local artists display and sell paintings.  One of the paintings was of the “Blue Line” which is the light rail system that goes back and forth between some of the outer neighborhoods of Charlotte to uptown Charlotte.  A lot of people use it to get to work and back or to go into town to go to a show or other forms of entertainment. 

There was a man in the hospital who had been sitting beside the bedside of his dying wife.  They lived in one of these neighborhoods and he and his wife had always wanted to take the Blue Line but never did.  Coming into the hospital one day he saw this painting and called the artist and bought it.  A staff member was clocking in when she saw the gentleman leaving with his painting.  She said, “He broke down and cried and was so thankful for the painting.  All things are done and happen for a reason I truly believe, so this was painted and put here for him. Wow!”

That sounds like a God-glimpse to me.  Now hopefully we get more than glimpses of God sometimes, but sometimes the glimpses are what get us through.  We have to recognize them though.  The staff member recognized that God was at work in this man discovering a painting that portrayed a wish of his and his wife.  She saw the comfort he derived from it. 

The verse from Isaiah is a very tender one.  It likens God to a mother who lifts up a child and comforts him or her.  Like this, God comforted the Israelites who had gone into exile.  It is sometimes the simplest things that remind us that God is present with us when we are hurting, that God does not stand away from us, removed, but reaches down and lifts us surrounding us with God’s comforting embrace. 

Prayer: O God who tenderly cares for us with the comfort of a mother, may we pay attention to the simplest things that happen, for in them we will receive glimpses of your presence in our lives and this world.  Amen.

Written by Rev. Susan Roddey, Director of Spiritual Life at Abernethy Laurels