This is a guest post from Monica Mina - a Peace Corps volunteer from New Jersey who is currently living in the Kyrgyz Republic, a country located in Central Asia, formerly part of the Soviet Union. You can read more about Monica's experience on her blog or on her Facebook page. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
I stood at what felt like one of the largest intersections I had ever attempted to cross in my life. There were cars coming from every direction by way of a streetlight that hadn’t factored in pedestrians at all. My heart sinks every time I cross any street here in the Kyrgyz Republic because THEY DO NOT YIELD!
This time I stood there, and went into a state of shock. I was imagining myself being plowed by a trolley bus, or getting trapped between lanes. I know, you think I’m being dramatic. But you would be too if a hundred minibuses and cars were coming at you from several directions at over 60 mph.
I looked over at a woman next to me who took one step forward, and had a determined expression on her face to make it across the street. I don’t usually make eye contact because I like to avoid the mental exhaustion of introductions and chitchat – in not one, but two, foreign languages which I have not yet mastered.
It was not like me at all actually. I was so caught up, drowning in these horrible thoughts, that I mentally and physically couldn’t have given myself a second to look away from the dust clouds and racing tires.
But she looked at me. And I looked back. It was too late! Our eyes locked, she spoke in very fast Russian, grabbed me arm in arm, and led me across the street. I asked her name, and then she left. Her name was Aigul (eye-goul), and today, this was God coming to meet me.
Later that night I went home and thought, “How many times do I purposely ignore people on a daily basis?”
I’m always avoiding something or someone because for me personally, the less I have to think, the better, right? If I had not looked over and accepted her hand I would have stood on that corner looking as hopeless as I did, allowing myself to become OVERWHELMED with all of these negative thoughts. Who knows…I might still be standing on that street corner today!
I realized I didn’t see God in Aigul right away because of two reasons. First, I wasn’t looking and secondly I don’t know what He looks like!
I grew up seeing pictures of God on icons in church, in prayer books, all over my home in paintings. HE ALWAYS LOOKED THE SAME! But this time He didn’t. He wasn’t walking on water. He wasn’t telling parables. He wasn’t healing an old sick woman. This time, He was the old sick woman. He was Aigul.
“Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” Luke 24:36-39
He came with words of peace and His disciples were frightened – thinking they’d seen a ghost! They lived with Him…walked with Him…ate, drank and relaxed with Him. They spent three entire years with Him! Yet, at this moment, they couldn’t see Him right in front of their eyes. They couldn’t see Him because He looked different; He wasn’t what they were expecting.
At that time, Jesus was revealed to them in a light they were unfamiliar with – which is why He had to refer to His physical form and prove it to them. “Look…it’s Me…My divinity parted not from My humanity…don’t ever forget that.”
For me, closing my Bible or leaving church on Sundays always meant I had put God away for the time being. As far as I was concerned, God would stay in my Bible or in the church till I came back next week.
But on this day, I learned that God truly is everywhere. And that’s not just something we say…it’s actually true!
Maybe it’s time to open our eyes and start finding Him. You’ll never know which stranger you might find Him in.
For discussion: what do you think are some of the biggest reasons why we can’t see God in our everyday lives?