We had a few minutes before leaving for work, to chat. The night before, we had been talking with some friends about Inuvik in the far north. Paul visited there a few years ago with his Uncle John and loved it. He reflected on the mixed population of Inuit and white people.
"A lot of people up there who aren't associated with mining, are trying to run away from something or someone," he said. There must be so many stories, so many broken people with broken dreams, I thought.
He told me about his last day in Inuvik. He and Uncle John decided to go for a walk through town and went into a coffee shop which had locally produced art for sale. Uncle John went over to a display to have a look.
Paul noticed a man sitting up against the wall, almost like he wished he could hide behind it. He looked to be in his early thirties; slight of build and of medium height. Paul felt a compelling urge to go and talk to him, so he went over and started chatting. He mentioned in conversation that he was a Christian and that was when the man started telling his story. Uncle John, looked over and saw that they were engaged in an intense conversation, so he continued browsing the shelves.
"I've preached in Europe and all through the States; a lot in Ireland, too," said the man, "But really, I was a street preacher."
Then he told of marrying, and succumbing to the expectation that he settle down and pastor a church. Somewhere along the line he got squeezed into a mold that didn't fit and the pressure of family and a church became too much.
One day he ran--and never went back. He'd been up there for a year or so and was living in a tent through the summer. He had no money, but some of the Inuit kids--those into drugs and prostitution, became his friend and brought him food. He said that they were so kind to him. Much kinder than the Church had been.
Paul encouraged him to face what he was running from, with God's help.
"I think God sent you to me today," said the man, "I was in utter despair, but you've given me hope. I know that I have to go back and deal with it."
"People deal with their problems by either fight or flight," Paul said to me; "The people up there have chosen to fly."
"There is a third option when we are in trouble," I said, with Psalm 46: 10 in mind:
"Be still, and know that I am God;"
We opened our Daily Light on the Daily Path to read before leaving for work, and among many verses that were along the same lines, we read Isaiah 25:9:
9 It will be said on that day,“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.This is the Lord; we have waited for him;let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."
Yes, there is a third option.