Today our middle school Farmhands prepared a nearby barn for the arrival of our sheep, some piglets and a small puppy who will grow up to be a sheepherder. It was a beautiful day, but the outside warmth and sun did not reach far into the 19th century building. Except for a few diffused rays, it was dark, dank and chilly. To add to the inner chill, the carcass of a raccoon was leaning against one of the many musty bales of hay that a long-ago farmer left behind.
As we used a crow bar to pry open doors with rusted hinges, the November sunshine began to penetrate a space darkened for the last 40 years. Millions of bits of dust, straw and webby powder filtered through the air as the students, released from the prison of classroom walls, romped around, acting like the preschoolers they once were.
I stood by quietly, watching, smiling at the ruckus, imagining what livestock filled the barn over its history. Suddenly a flash of red caught my eye. I leaned over, and saw an amazing sight hidden down low, partially obscured by mounds of bird droppings – an old Coke can, with an unabashedly flaming crimson heart. Immediately an old Barbra Streisand song went through my mind - “Love Comes from Unexpected Places.”
How true that is – whether it is human love, or the agape love of God. God finds us in the most unlikely places and offers His unconditional love, wrapped in forgiveness, mercy, compassion and grace. It is rarely happens when we are looking our best, dressed in finery and success. Most often He stoops to woo us, a "friend in low places" - dusty, bleak, chilled, and obscured by waste. In the glow of our own self-glory, we miss His Light. In the shadows, His radiant love seeps into the emptiness of our souls.