The Ones Who Mean The Most

I often feel the presence of God through other people, which I think is one of God's most wonderful, surprising means of self-revelation.  

I can feel God's presence when I see someone do something kind and gracious, giving and merciful.  I can feel it when someone reaches out to me with encouragement and unexpected affirmation.  

As odd as it might seem at times, I can feel the presence of God when I'm gathered with friends laughing, talking, eating good food, enjoying great beverages...  

I've also felt the presence of God when I've gone through tough times in my life and people reached out to me to share their own stories, offer sympathy, or affirm their support.  

But there are some people who do much more.  These are the people (and there are precious few of them) who don't let me off the hook when I'm trying to put up my armor, and hide from the world.  

They are the ones who will listen to every hard, bitter, angry, blasphemous thing that pours out of me when I'm struggling, and don't bat an eyelash.  

They are the ones who come and find me when I'm feeling lost.  

Perhaps you have a few someones like that in your life.  I  hope that you do.  To me, it's the clearest and most tangible way that we can experience the Christ in the world around us.  And here's why:  

When someone is stepping in for the Christ in your life, they walk with you, identify with you, share with you, and suffer with you.  

In his excellent little book, "Following Jesus," Henri Nouwen writes the following:  
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.
May you experience the presence of the Christ through those people in your life who walk with you in your most difficult journeys, and refuse to leave your side even when you try to run.  

May you see Jesus in the faces of those who sit with you in your grief.  May you hear his voice when they call you out on your junk.  May you feel his touch when they embrace you in your pain.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.  Amen.  


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