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Snowstorm in Springtime  

What is it about hard times that soften the human spirit?

A recent spring snow storm that assaulted our Monday morning commute seemed to many unkind, even cruel.  Sliding through the significant slush in downtown Chicago, I was intrigued with the way people were notably friendlier in this sudden “hardship.” I heard one stranger thanking another stranger for shoveling his sidewalk.  These are people who would normally not even notice each other on the street, let alone exchange courtesies.

As I picked my way carefully, I came to a length of sidewalk that “nobody” owns—so “nobody” shovels it.  The only safe path is one made by commuters' feet shuffling along.   An older lady looked at me, and my facial expression conveyed the clear intent that she should take the well-trod footpath path, while I would walk in the snow drifts.

Near Chicago's landmark Merchandise Mart building, I suddenly sipped and landed on my elbow.  The driver of a refrigerated seafood truck saw the whole thing.  As I struggled to get up, he opened the door of his cab, clearly ready to extend a hand.

But why is this?  Why is it that we, who can treat other humans one day as invisible and the next—a day of hardship—finds us friendly and helpful?  I'm sure for a mere 20 million dollars we could issue a congressional study on the question of human psyche.

Yet I am inclined to think the answer has less to do with psychology than theology.  Follow my reasoning:  Man is made in the image of God.   Caring and compassion are God-like qualities.  Hard times waken us out of the slumber of self-absorbency.  Ergo, we help when others hurt because to do otherwise would deny the image of the God who made us.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement which we ourselves are encouraged by God...”   --2 Corinthians 1:3-5


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016