July 16, 2014 | 12:15 pm
Posted by Rev. Jes Kast

My Subway Yoga Instructor

I was recently riding the subway where we were packed into the train. There was very little breathing room and people's attitudes were impatient and vocally upset. I was in the middle of the train car doing gymnastics just to hold onto the pole. This was a very anxious situation. I felt stuck. I hate feeling stuck in tight spaces. I began to breathe heavily. The guy next to me noticed that I was not doing well. He looked at me and kindly said, "Are you claustrophobic?" I nodded as I focused on my breathing. I said to him "Distract me." Much to my surprise he warmly reminded me to breathe deeply. He then told me a story about biking around Manhattan that even produced a laugh from me. Before I knew it the car had emptied out and my anxiety calmed down.

Total strangers and yet he was God's presence of peace in my life.

The next day I was walking down Amsterdam and a guy yelled out to me "Hey!" I turned around and it was the subway guy, who I now endearingly refer to as my subway yoga instructor. I was able to thank him because he was the one that assured me that everything was going to be okay and the train wasn't going to crash, and we weren't going to be stuck under the subway, and rats weren't going to come walk over us, and (well you get the picture what anxiety does). He reassured me of peace.

As I preached this past Sunday, peace is not the absence of anxiety, but peace is the assurance of God's presence in the midst of anxiety. My subway yoga instructor, a complete stranger, was God's peace in the midst of a very anxious situation for me.

When have you experienced God's peace in the midst of anxious situations?