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Monday, June 29, 2015

Not just another scavenger hunt!

Have you ever been on a scavenger hunt?  As kids, we did this once in a while as a "group activity" when we'd all have to work together to find all the items on a list.  We'd make our way through the neighborhood asking the neighbors if they had a blue button, yellow tissue paper, one sock with a hole in it, etc.  As our bags filled up we'd become more and more excited because we planned to be the ones to finish our hunt the first, returning back to "home base" with the "loot" of our hunt and being declared the winners.  There was always that one item on the list which no one had!  It was something absolutely weird and almost impossible to find.  It was like we had to go to exactly the right house to find it, but who knew exactly where that was.  It could have been a broken Timex watch, or a cooking pot with a hole in the bottom.  They weren't things people would keep around because once it was declared to be "not useful" anymore, most people threw it out!  Then...as if by some miracle...you'd happen upon "just the right house" where someone had a craft workshop set up in the garage - where they saved little bits of this and that, knowing someday they'd be able to use the discarded object in some other way.  It was like you hit pay-dirt!  You could check off dozens of items just from their "stash"!  It can take a while to find "just the right place" in life, but once you do, you know you have arrived!

God, you are my God.  I am searching so hard to find you.  Body and soul, I thirst for you in this dry and weary land without water.  Yes, I have seen you in your Temple.  I have seen your strength and glory.  Your faithful love is better than life, so my lips praise you.  By my life, I will praise you.  In your name, I lift my hands in prayer.  When I sit down to satisfy my hunger, my joyful lips hunger to praise you!  I remember you while lying on my bed.  I think about you in the middle of the night.  That is because you are the one who helps me. It makes me happy to be under your protection!  I stay close to you, and you hold me with your powerful arm.  (Psalm 63:1-8 ERV)

One good part of being on the "hunt" on these lazy summer nights was the way we'd all work together to figure out where to go, who to ask, where we might find that particular item.  The time together actually helped us to work together as a team a little.  Another thing it taught us was to ask the right question at the right house!  Some of these hunts actually limited us to asking for only one item at any particular door, so we'd have to judge carefully about what we knew about our neighbor.  There is much to be said about "planning carefully" and "working well with others", but the truth is, if we did all we could do, sometimes it was just not possible to find that one object of our seeking.  We just didn't plan well enough!  There is one thing for certain, we sometimes exert a lot of effort "seeking" or "searching", but come up empty-handed in the process.  Why is that?  I think it may be two-fold: 1) We didn't look in the right place, and 2) We didn't ask the right questions.  

When we'd see a lady come to the door who was obviously a little older and wearing an apron, we'd just automatically think to ask her for some wax for canning.  She "fit the picture" of someone who might do canning.  Imagine our surprise when we'd find out the younger mother down the way was the one who actually put up fruits and veggies each summer!  We sometimes think we will find the answers to our needs in one place because it seems reasonable to our way of thinking.  This just goes to prove our way of thinking isn't always the most reasonable, nor the most trust-worthy.  We need to take what we think is reasonable and submit it to the test of "reality" which is found when we bring things to God for his view on the matter. I don't suspect there were too many of the teens asking God where to find the broken Timex or the pot with a hole in the bottom, but you get my drift.  When we face the common issues in life, we tend to rely upon our own knowledge maybe a little too much - thinking we have life under control.  What gives us the edge in life is when we have prepared ourselves to "think through a filter" of sorts - the "filter" which comes from having spent time with Jesus himself.

Looking in the right place is often a matter of knowing the one who has prepared the place in advance of us needing it!  Asking the right questions is often just done because we have learned how Jesus thinks and where it is he provides the answers.  We want to make this seeking and finding, hungering and thirsting thing kind of mystical or magical.  The truth is, it is quite practical! It is not in the deep study of theology, nor the intentional pursuit of the supernatural, but in the making of oneself available to just sit in his presence, enjoy his company, and engage in conversation with him.  In those times, we find praise escaping our lips, because we cannot help but worship in his presence.  In those same times, we find peace invade our souls, wearied by the heaviness of the day.  The right place and the right questions make all the difference in what it is we find and enjoy!  Just sayin!