“I live in Los Angeles, California.”

The streets are flooded with people of all walks of life, rich and poor, all clumped together. In many areas, the streets are not pretty or glamorous but lined with concrete, garbage, construction, and abandoned buildings. Traffic is horrible and many billboards and advertisements cloud the skyline. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with how “ugly” my city is.

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But even in a place that doesn’t seem beautiful, God calls us to find Him. That is our mission as disciples of Jesus – to find God in unexpected places.

Deuteronomy 4:29 explains,

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find Him, if you search after Him with all your heart and all your soul.”

“There” is wherever you are, your city, your town. It is so easy to walk through life with blinders, not noticing the glory around us.

When I open my eyes, I notice the beauty. I found on a dumpster someone had written “Happy Mother’s Day Mom.” I notice the geometry of the buildings, the birds, the feeling of the sun, the plants, and people connecting and loving one another. All of these are God’s way of reaching me. Through these little observations God says, “I am here.”

That is what living a life with Jesus can offer. Surrendering to Him and knowing that everything is not in your control offers the freedom to find God in unlikely places.

Ephesians 5:8 reads,

“For one time you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.”

While things may be difficult, accepting that darkness and realizing that you want out is the only way to come into the light. That’s where God wants us to be. We were made to thrive and live in His light. When things seem ugliest, that is when I press into Him more and more often than not, I find God in unexpected places.

– Emmy Newman