On New Year's Eve, I wondered what 2020 would hold for me and somewhere between looking back and looking forward, a realisation dawned that certain things remain constant: new mercies every morning and unfathomable love to lull one to a peaceful night’s sleep. The life of a Christian believer might be anything from rough paths to rocky seas, but we tread on, knowing God is our constant.
I am reminded everyday of God’s abiding protection, grace and mercies as I commute to work. It seemed silly to me at first; to be reminded of God’s goodness while travelling on a bus of all places. But it’s true. At work or at home, I am, like most, caught up in a whirlwind of responsibilities. However, as I sit by the bus window, I catch a glimpse of the world, as it is - both shimmering and sullied. We live in a world of contrasts.
Many of us are blessed with comforts which someone else would cherish as a grand luxury. I notice a sharply dressed gentleman honking his way through traffic and the garbage collector ringing his bell to start his day. The well fed Labrador tugging at its leash on its routine walk and the stray dog that rummages through the garbage to feed its little ones. The calm and collected lady waiting for her bus that comes fifteen minutes late and the slightly crazed one who chases a running bus (most likely me). We’re all at the same place yet so far away from each other.
Similarly in our relationship with God, He was so close, yet we chose to stay far away. But He didn’t leave it at that. He pressed on to make His love and our lives coincide. He died on the cross so that our sin would no longer separate us from Him. He pressed on to fill the gap. And that’s not all. He continues to control the uncontrollable aspects of our lives. From the big ones like choosing the right life partner, to the small ones, like slowing down a bus so that you wouldn’t be late for work.
He performs random acts of kindness. He sends rain on all people, because everyone in this world is in need of a little revival, the good and the evil, the rich and the poor, the old and the young.
For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5: 45
On a particular day on the bus, I noticed a man handing over a packet of food to an elderly homeless man on the roadside. As he gave the packet, I knew he wasn’t reluctant, but it was also clear that it wasn’t his plan initially to give away the packet. He had probably bought the packet for himself, but seeing the old man, felt a strong urge to give away his food, even if it meant giving up his own breakfast.
On the other hand, the elderly man who received the packet was definitely caught by surprise. His face, from a rather downcast look, changed in a matter of a second, to one of radiance. This incident remained in my mind the rest of my journey. I could not forget the smile on the elderly man’s face. I couldn’t help but keep smiling at the thought of this. It was true, smiles are contagious. And it didn't stop there. Soon after, I saw a woman get on to the bus carrying more than she could handle. My hand immediately went to hers to help out. As I took a bag from her, the same smile that I saw in the elderly man’s face, I saw in hers too. I realised that happiness is contagious too. All we have to do is take a little effort to spread it.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5: 22-23)
Random acts of kindness go a long way. Don’t wait like me, to see a man on the road do something in order to be reminded. Every day our God is performing random acts of kindness for us who don’t deserve it. It is our Creator who began this and He continues to do so. The world around us is hurting and helpless. It takes just one random act of kindness to spread a few smiles around.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience... (Colossians 3:12)
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3)
As God led me into this new year, my prayer and hope was that He would teach me to be a little more like Him every day. I’m glad he chose to teach me this life lesson: to strive to help another, inside the bus or outside it; just as He never fails to stop a running bus for me while I’m busy running late.