Sunday, June 19, 2011

Don't Judge a City by the Metro

Our experience with the NYC Metro System is still speaking to me. Though Emily and I never really mastered the Metro, we did get better over time with finding our way around. We basically got better at correcting our mistakes and our first mistake was a doosy.

We were going from Flushing to Coney Island, or so we thought. We pulled our map out as discreetly as possible. Maybe we were a little too discreet because even after looking at it we still didn’t realize that we were headed in the wrong direction. The kind lady sitting next to me nonchalantly asked where we were going. We proudly said, “Coney Island.” In a very low, calm voice she said, “You are going in the wrong direction. You are in the Bronx. You need to get off at the next stop, cross over, and get onto the D, D as in Delta, D.”

The man across from her wasn’t nearly as gracious and loudly bellowed several times that we were a lonnnnnnng way from Coney Island that we had about an hour’s ride back to the other end. But our gracious new friend just kept quietly and calmly saying, “D, D as in Delta, D.” We did as she instructed and made it there safely.

Throughout the rest of our trip we struggled to figure out where we were based on the dark, ugly, dirty, blazingly hot, underbelly of New York City. Just when I would start dreaming about being at home sitting on our couch, we would make our way out and find a new beautiful view of something like Central Park or Time Square.

That feels much like a metaphor for our lives lately. Sometimes it seems that things go from bad to worse and it is difficult to see where God is going with all of this. In fact, I can feel just as lost in this journey as I did in NYC. Yet there is this excited expectation of what is to come. We routinely experience beautiful moments and evidence of God’s favor but God seems to keep reinforcing that something greater is coming.

My mind keeps turning to one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I know the plans I have for you,“ declares the Lord, ”Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

As I was finishing up this blog, I listened to a sermon by Pastor Carr at Central Church of God on “Making IT Look Easy, Joy.” His definition of Joy reinforced all that I’ve felt God was saying this week. He said,

“Joy is the habitual celebration of victory regardless of the way things appear.”

If you are facing tough times just remember that the ugly stuff around you is just a Metro System that is taking you to a beautiful place. A place filled with stronger hope and faith than you’ve ever had before.

Central Church has some excellent sermons on line at


  1. How encouraging! I choose joy. Today I'll be looking for my beautiful place.


  2. Have never been to NY and have never lived where there was an underground system, but it was interesting to ride the ones in London and Paris. It's easy to get lost when you don't know what you're doing. It's good to know God knows exactly where we are all the time, and he will lead us to our destination if we let him. Thank you for sharing this great analogy.

  3. I've been reading through your lovely blog. What uplifting posts! Thanks for visiting me at Doorkeeper. Blessings!