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The Alpha And The Omega
by Bro. Clifford Hurst

1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417

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They're coming. The cicadas. The seventeen year cicadas. They will be by the millions in the eastern part of our state. Some outreaching fingers of the range of their infestation may reach the western region where I live, but most predict the parameter of this outbreak will stop around fifty miles away. With warmer weather and rain softening the ground, they will emerge in late April or sometime in May. I still remember when the brood specific to where I live last surfaced. Who could forget the deafening cacophony they made? As I read our newspaper's recent articles heralding this current, coming emergence, one almost incidental fact grabbed my attention: One reporter noted that birds not native to Ohio will this spring travel from other states to come and feast on these cicadas. Bird watchers are thrilled at seeing species they would never normally get to see here. Wow, I thought. How do those birds get the news that there will be cicadas in Ohio? How do birds, say in Florida, one day know to travel north to certain counties where there will be an ample feast of those insects? How? That made me ponder a similar wonder I encounter each year gardening. I till the ground (It can even be where there has never been a garden.) I plant beans. The beans germinate, and their shoots begin pushing at the soil covering them. Many times before the shoots even completely break the surface the bean bugs eat off the unfurling budding leaves. From an aerial view, my garden would be a mere pin point in the surrounding farm land of just the mile section in which it's located. Now how do those bean bugs know where I plant those beans? How do they find my beans? I know there is probably a scientific explanation for both the above phenomena. Explanations would not dissipate my wonder. They would probably only increase it. Oddly, all of this made me think of the Holy Spirit. A bird from a remote state can know there are cicadas in a distant state not in its native range and fly right to them. A bean bug can know there are germinating beans in a new, tiny garden surrounded by fields of corn and woods and head right to them. And the Holy Spirit knows where the receptive heart, prime to receive Christ, is and detects, locates, and comes to that one: A college student sitting in a class surrounded by party-minded peers and listening to an atheistic, humanistic professor. A teen far down the street of a crime/poverty-riven neighborhood in a back bedroom of a house where his mom and her live-in boyfriend are doing drugs in the den A lonely, elderly lady in a darkened room in a back wing of a nursing home. An abandoned stay-at-home mother of four who has never been to church, weeping as she seeks to change a diaper, cook lunch, and break up a fight, all the while dealing with betrayal and brokenness. A man who once knew Christ as a child, now working in the midst of vile, filthy mouthed co-workers for twelve hour days. The Holy Spirit knows where each is at. The Holy Spirit makes right for each. Please forgive the crudeness of the analogy, but like a non-native bird to a distant cicada, like a bean bug to a faraway, just germinating bean, the Holy Spirit comes right on target to the God-seeking, needy heart.

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