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A Chance Encounter with ‘The Painter of Light’

A missed subway connection leads to something better, appreciating the work of painter J.M.W. Turner.

The mistake that led to a miracle of light.

Have you ever made a mistake that God somehow used to bring about something wonderful?

That’s what happened to me this past March. One morning, I took the subway uptown to Columbia University to interview Dr. Lisa Miller, a leading expert on childhood and spirituality. (Stay tuned for our Q&A with her coming soon to Mysterious Ways magazine!)

On my way back from the interview, I hopped on the local train at the 116th street subway station. I planned on taking an express train at 96th street. Only, I missed the express at 96th and had to get back on the local. I was so frustrated with myself. (Missing an express train in New York City is like opening a box of doughnuts in the kitchen at work only to discover all the glazed ones are gone!)

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Needless to say, the local was moving like molasses. At 79th street, the train stopped. I looked up. And that’s when I saw it, through the window of the train–a poster on the opposite wall of the station, on the other side of the tracks. It was advertising a J.M.W. Turner exhibit at the Frick Collection in New York City.

I couldn’t believe it. J.M.W. Turner is one of my favorite painters of all time! He’s known as “the painter of light” for the incredible way light shines through in his oil and watercolor paintings. I have postcards of his paintings hanging above my desks at home and at work. I had no idea he had a special exhibit in New York City, though.

If I hadn’t missed that express train, I would’ve never known. In fact, I never saw another poster advertising the exhibit anywhere else in New York City.

Last weekend, I finally made it to the Frick to view the exhibit. I stood in front of one of Turner’s unfinished paintings, The Harbour of Brest, completely wowed…and thankful for the mistake that led me there. 

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Walking in Grace 2023 Devotional

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We wanted to let you know that we have changed the name of Daily Guideposts to Walking in Grace —(Don’t worry — we promise it is the ONLY change we’ve made!)

Walking in Grace 2023 is the perfect way to start or end each day, focusing on God’s love, and connecting you to a community of writers and readers. Each daily devotion will bless you with a short Scripture verse that draws you into His word, a true moving story about the joys and challenges of living a life of faith, hope, and optimism, a short personal prayer that helps you put the day’s message to work in your own life, and a unique “Digging Deeper” Scripture for further reflection.

In just a few minutes a day, Walking in Grace 2023 will help you find the spiritual richness you long for in your life.

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