Last Saturday I wanted to go out walking somewhere. With the weather outside being a combination of rain, sleet, and snow at different times, I tried to think of somewhere inside. I decided to visit a place I hadn’t visited in many years– the Cleveland Museum of Art. As an added enticement it doesn’t cost anything to enter the museum. Because of the weather I did pay to park in their garage. I spent about 4 hours there, and know that I didn’t see everything. I just got tired. As always I took pictures. I have attached one to this message.
The picture is a wide angle view of the atrium between the two main buildings. I am standing on the second level near the escalator at the east end of the museum looking out over most of the span of the atrium. There seems to be a little encapsulated world in the atrium. I was able to see various parts of the museum: the cafe and restaurant on the opposite end of the atrium; the gift shop in the corner next to the cafe; a special gallery behind a glass wall around the middle of the right side; the main entrance to the main building on the left side; some displays and meeting rooms along the upper level perimeter walkway. Throughout the atrium are scattered tables and benches, mostly populated by people.
As I looked more at the picture I started to enlarge the picture view on the screen to be able to see the people. I am not a nosy person and usually keep to my own business. But, I found myself wondering what was happening with all of the people. Near the bottom of the picture close to me there is a couple of women in the right corner resting on a bench and having a conversation. A bit to their left is a family that looks to be dressed for a wedding. The little boy lying down on his back has an expression of total panic for fear of falling backwards off the bench. The girl on the bench to the right looks tired or bored. Moving along the right perimeter is a man sitting on a bench looking at this cell phone. There are people behind the glass wall in the special display that are in a world of their own, of sorts. There is a museum employee in the round desk in the middle of the atrium, to help direct people or answer questions. On the left side in front of the entrance to the main building is a man giving his sportjacket to his partner– she must be cold. At the tables further down people are eating, drinking, and visiting. You can even see people shopping in the gift shop. At various points throughout are people walking from one place to another, seemingly oblivious to everyone else.
I wondered, are these people having fun? Are they worried? Are they simply enjoying time with their family or friends? Are they looking for someone else? Are they in a hurry to get somewhere? Are they just killing time? Are any of them really hurting in some way? I haven’t really got a clue to the answers to any of these questions, except to say yes. Probably all of these questions could be answered “Yes.” The thought entered my mind that this group of what seems like a world of people in this large atrium to me would seem like a tiny snow globe to God.
God knows what is happening with all of these people, and with each of us all the time. It is hard for me to fathom. He knows who is hurting physically, mentally, or spiritually. He knows each of us better than we do ourselves. I am reminded of the words of Jesus:
“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:4-7).
Then a little later in the same message:
“And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on” (Luke 12:22).
God knows all and knows us intimately. More importantly He has the power to help and save us. It is only through Christ that we can ultimately conquer our humanness and stay together.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17).
I thank God I don’t need to see and understand everyone’s problems, because it would simply overwhelm me. I simply couldn’t do it. But he does see and understand, and knows what each of us needs. He gave us the answer in His Son, Jesus.
Take heart and be encouraged!