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God Moves In

Once upon a time, the street was lined with newly constructed homes, manicured lawns and beautiful perennials that came back every year. There were neighbors that greeted each other as they walked from their cars and up the steps into their homes. Their vehicles and front doors always remained unlocked. The street echoed the sound of children playing and laughter as daylight receded and drew to a close.

But that was some time ago. And now, those houses have chipped paint and tattered flags. Today the windows frame tattered curtains, and the roofs have Christmas lights that are falling off well into the spring. The flowerbeds are overgrown and littered with debris, and the leaves from fall still gather on the steps, even though it is summer. Now the laughter has grown silent, and the children have turned into adults with gaunt faces and eyes that lack hope.

This is what it looks like when people have given up hope. I think this to myself as my daughter pushes her doll in a stroller down the cracked sidewalk on this street of broken dreams.

I wanted to give up too, by this point. This wasn’t what I signed up for when I scribed my signature on the lease, unpacked boxes and hung pictures on my walls. I didn’t know when I moved in that addiction owned the street. It only became apparent when all signs of life only appeared after dark, and when I found used needles on my front lawn in the morning.

Here’s the thing that I realized as I looked out my bedroom window one day. I saw my neighbor sink onto the concrete step and drop his head into his hands. A flicker of compassion began to invade my feelings of being inconvenienced by living here.

I may want to move out, but God does not.

God moves in.

I may grow weary and annoyed, but God is compassionate.