I love walking in winter, especially on days like today, when the air is cold enough to be invigorating but not so cold as to be bone-chilling.
Besides giving me a bit of exercise, my brisk morning walk to the bus occasionally also leads to unexpected encounters. This morning, while walking along Montreal Road I ran into JB. JB is an old friend. We were part of the same spiritual family for a number of years, but life took us in different directions and I no longer see him regularly. Occasionally it happens that our paths cross when he is on his way home from his night shift, and I am on my way to work.
One reason I love JB is because of his smile. As soon as he recognized me this morning, he gave me a big grin, and when I got closer, a bear hug and a blessing. We didn’t talk long because he knew I had a bus to catch, but as I went on my way, my spirit was lighter.
One of the things I always appreciated about JB was his enthusiasm for the Lord. As I said goodbye to him this morning, I remembered how he used to say “There’s no high like the Most High”. He would sometimes share how he used to seek happiness in drugs until he met Jesus. His life exemplified a visible hunger for the real thing – a genuine relationship with God, no faking.
Life isn’t always easy. It’s not easy for anyone, and in some ways, following Jesus makes it harder. His people are called to live by a higher standard than the world around us, and we sometimes encounter opposition in various forms. We know that we are headed for resurrection, and that’s wonderful. But I am so glad that Jesus gives us the promise of His presence with us by the Holy Spirit here and now, as a down payment of what is to come. The grin on JB’s face this morning reminded me of the joy of the Lord. I was grateful for the reminder.