I have a story for you, which, I think, really is full of hope.
My wife and I went out for a hike in the very southern end of the Delaware Water Gap National Park in Pennsylvania. There is a road called National Park Road that goes along the southern edge of the National Park. When we went up there, we found the road ended less than a mile in due to a bridge that was washed out. So we looked around for a nearby trail. There didn’t seem to be much there but my wife found what looked like a trail going down a steep hill to what is called the Slateford Creek.
We began looking for a trail and found some indications of a trail, but it had not been cleared for a long time and was covered with leaves, and had a pretty steep section. Beyond that area we really couldn’t make out if the trail continued so we decided to forego any further hiking. As we were coming up the hill a couple of young men with large child-carrier backpacks approached and asked us if we had been down the trail. We told them it didn’t look open to us. They invited us to join their families. They told us about the waterfalls in the Slateford Creek and about one especially large waterfall where they were headed. They encouraged us to join them, so we did.
I told my wife that anyone looking at us would have assumed we were the grandparents of some of the children who were bravely climbing over smaller logs on the trail.
I was impressed with the enthusiasm the families expressed about where we were going and their desire to share in their joyful experiences that had at the waterfall.
When we got to the waterfall we were impressed. Likely over 50 feet high, streaming down the edge of a very narrow gorge, the falls were very impressive. There were other people at the base, and even some folks tightrope walking over the top of the gorge.
When we had our fill of the view and taking pictures, we thanked the two families who had lead us to the site. The wanted to make sure we were comfortable knowing how to get back up to the road. I felt they really wanted to care for us. It reminded me about some of the sermons I had preached about loving our neighbors. Here was God’s love being extended to us, both the excitement about one small part of creation, but also about the care they gave us wanting to make sure we could safely get back up.
Sometimes I ask “where have you seen God today?” That day I saw God in the care and the enthusiasm of these two young families.