I’m often asked here what my favorite thing about New York is. I still haven’t found an answer, or at least an answer that they may be asking for. The truth is, I don’t love New York. It’s overwhelming, it’s busy, it’s fast, it’s loud, it’s dirty, it smells bad, it’s different. I would choose to be in the mountains of Asheville in a heartbeat. I miss the mountains and hiking and everything green.
To be honest, I’m surprised that I don’t love New York. In past experiences, I’ve loved cities. I love culture and interacting with people from different cultures than mine, and that is in abundance here! Many had predicted that I would love New York. But again, I don’t really love it. In a sense, the people and city of New York has failed by expectations.
Being in a busy, unfamiliar setting that often (often!) overwhelms me has thankfully driven me into the everlasting arms of my Abba Father who patiently loves me when I want my own way.
And He’s giving me vision. Vision for people.
People like Pellé, an angry neighbor who shouts against Jesus to all of 72nd Street that will listen. An angry neighbor who longs to be heard, known, loved, but isn’t heard, known, and loved by people. People have failed him.
People like Jason, a homeless deaf man whose Social Security has fallen through and who SSI quickly dismisses because he doesn’t have a verbal voice to plead his case, so he waits. A friendly man who signs “Good Morning!” to the thousands of people who pass him and don’t hear his story. People have failed him.
People whose names I don’t know. The neighbor we can’t see, because they’re on the second floor of buildings, behind shut doors, surrounded with cameras. The neighbor we can’t see who was promised something they longed for – be it attention or money or love – but was failed and beat down, powerless, her body exploited for one man’s pleasure and another man’s profit. People have failed her.
When I look at this city in its overwhelming, busy, fast, loud, dirty, smelly, different – and might I add dark – ways, God is showing me people. People seeking Him who don’t know they are seeking Him. For He is the one who hears, loves, and knows us. He is the One who fights for us and brings justice, who provides perfectly for us. He is the one who rescues us from trouble. He never fails us.
I’m seeing lost children made in the image of God, looking for the things their Father perfectly provides. I’m seeing lost children made in His image who have been failed because they look for these things outside of God Himself. I’m seeing lost children made in God’s image who have been deceived into thinking God is someone who He isn’t, because their vision has been tainted by the people who have failed them…leading their hearts to say, “How could God be a Father who is good?”
I’m seeing lost children walking around fatherless, away from their Father.
So pray with me.
Pray for the lost children in New York, in the ways they’ve truly been failed and in their rebellious run from He who never fails. Pray that God would be lifted up high, seen, known, and glorified as the Abba Father He is. Pray that the people of New York would know that Jesus has, in love, stepped down from His throne of glory, lived a perfect life for them, died the death they themselves earned and deserved, and was resurrected to life eternal in glory beside of our Father, that they would raise to life eternal in glory with the Father! Pray that the Holy Spirit of God would give them vision to see that through Jesus they have a restored relationship with their forever Father who never fails!
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3: 1-3