Lots of people tell me God is pursuing me. He’s after me. He wants me. He’ll find me. This presumes that I am running away.
I am not running away. I am doing what comes naturally. I hang out in places that I like to be. Places that welcome me, feed me, comfort me. God knows where I hang out; that’s where He’ll come looking.If I like the good conversation and strong coffee at Starbucks, He’ll find me there.
If I like to write in my journal about the thoughts before the day, he’ll find me there.
If I like to walk my dog after dinner, He’ll find me there.
If I like to coach the same team season after season, he’ll find me there.
I think we get it wrong when we think we have to go looking for God.
Isn’t it funny that when I connect with old friends – folks who knew me from my younger days – they aren’t surprised where I have ended up? In fact, they would have predicted that teaching and coaching and athletics done with a bit of science thrown in is just where I would land. Kind of like a well-written mystery novel. When it wraps up, you say, of course that’s how it all turned out. All the clues were right there!
Oh, sometimes we get it out of order. The skill comes before the practice. The teaching comes before the teacher. The message comes before the understanding. But this is hopping. Hopping over and back. Beyond and then before. But when we land in just the right place at just the right time, we gasp and say, “Of course, that’s how it was supposed to come out. It’s the only logical conclusion.”
That’s what happens when someone holds the rope of your life from its end and gives it a tug. It straightens.
God is the only one who can see us from around the curves. He knows where to look. Wherever He’ll find us.
Are we looking for God in all the wrong places?
I mean, so many are not finding Him these days. And the scripture tells us “Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened.” If we’re seeking why are we not finding?
We capable and successful people know how to address this. We’ll increase our chances by looking for God in places where we know He already is. Like church on a Sunday, right?
Gratefully, that is one place I do regularly find Him. Although, He doesn’t just engulf me when I walk in the door. There’s a transition period. The guy handing out bulletins is the same guy (coincidentally) that I saw on a soccer field in Frederick yesterday haranguing me about the league administration and interactions he had with the opposing club. Of course, he and 16 kids had just made an hour and a quarter drive to a field that double-booked the game. But still.
Still, in a Sunday worship service, I do find when I seek. That’s a game I always win. Really no doubt as to the outcome, so what’s the challenge?
The challenge comes in the “everywhere else.” Because God’s supposed to be there, too. And let it be said that I love a challenge. So, what if I seek in a more even-odds environment? Say, on a Sunday soccer field. Are ya there, God? If you are who you say you are, then show yourself!
Yesterday I was a bit hard-pressed to win the seek and find game. Even coming straight from church where I was reminded of what God looks like and sounds like and feels like, when I step onto the turf, He seems so far away. People argue. The referee warns. Coaches challenge. Parents taunt. This is soccer on Sundays.
I believe I’m meant to be here almost as deeply as I believe in God. But where is He? I have the sneaking suspicion that I was supposed to bring Him with me. So others might find Him. What if ‘seek and ye shall find’ depends on me?
Oh, I can refrain from arguing and coaching from the sidelines. I can resist the urge to correct the parent who has just disrespected the ref. I can choose to encourage the players and “be a good sport.” But the world can do this – though often it doesn’t. What is different about me? Since I have sought God and found Him, how am I changed?
I guess it starts with my refusal to give up this ground. I come and I watch and I cheer, even when there’s a cold rain and my team is several goals down. I stand in the middle of conflict and honor the game. Somehow my being there is meant to make a difference.
Even if it’s just that later that evening my kid thanks me for coming. And we can talk about the game, our favorite plays, and the tiny bit of over-aggressiveness she noted in behalf of the other teams’ players. All okay with her, she tells me. It just makes her more determined not to let the other team have the ball.
Well, if that’s what she’s learning, then I’ll keep coming. Backing down, doesn’t win games. And the world is much more like the soccer field than the church service.
The sermon message for me yesterday was, “If you’re looking for God, go where you know you’ll find Him. And you’ll always find Him with the needy: the poor, the oppressed and the downcast. I am not sure if they were at church, but I am certain they were present at the soccer field.
Found Him! Now comes the hard part…shedding that Light.