September 13, 2010

Finding God

"To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! .... So our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He shall be gracious to us."  Psalm 123:1-2b

I have discovered a particular kind of computer game called Hidden Object games. When I can’t sleep or have a few spare minutes, I’ll pull one up. I tell myself I am sharpening my cognitive skills. Well, it could happen!

The last game I played involved maneuvering through a castle, locating certain objects to restore time and save the world and I don’t have to kill anyone to do it. The game included some crafty puzzles to solve for clues. The largest part of the game centered on different levels of finding hidden objects.

For example, I’d walk into one room and it would be full of stuff. The items weren’t related and purposely difficult to find. (I am sure you’ve played this kind of game before.) A list would appear and I would begin to locate all the items on the list.

I can be pretty good finding stuff most of the time. However, on occasion I had to use at least one computer hint to find one particularly well hidden object. Well, so much for sharpening my cognitive skills, because the hint always revealed the object right in front of my face. It was a case of not seeing the forest for all the trees, or in my case, stuff!

Now hold that thought and let me share two others. Earlier this year I was at a Women’s Retreat where I ran into a very sweet Christian woman. She was a former Muslim with a daughter still in a Middle Eastern country. Her son died fighting in Afghanistan. She was so excited to be a believer and had no problem sharing her faith with great enthusiasm. Yet, she was quick to offer her thought that women in American were spoiled. I had to admit she was right. We have so much stuff available to us that we take for granted.

Fast forward to this past Sunday where Kay, our fearless teacher, was sharing about a spiritual retreat she attended. During the retreat, a certain woman shared about a missionary journey she’d previously made. This woman, who lived a blessed and comfortable life, takes an overseas missionary trip every year. Her most recent trip proved very exciting as she joined a group of village people living in small huts with hardly the most barest of necessities. Yet, they joyfully received the message of Christ. When it was time for the missionary woman to return home one of the village women told her that while they were so excited that she had come to speak to them, they also felt sorry for her as she returned home.

Obviously, these were odd parting words to a person who came to share eternal life with them. When the missionary woman asked, why they would want to feel sorry for her, the village woman replied, “It must be so hard to find God with all your stuff.”

Stuff! We all have stuff and you know something, I think the village woman has a point. We have stuff and more stuff. Dare I say we are stuffed with stuff! We are so dependent on our stuff. We couldn’t imagine living without our stuff. We think our stuff will solve all our problems, or does it only create them? How often does God get lost, like a hidden object, in all our stuff?

What’s worse, we are happy to live like that! After all, we do have God – we’ve just put Him up with all our other stuff. But let us need Him to save our world, and we can’t even see Him for all our stuff!

Now there is a flip side to this “stuff” coin. Yes, we have material stuff but we also have mental stuff. Maybe today, your stuff is your circumstances. You have too many burdens, too many worries and too many uncertainties. There are too many issues to think about and worry over. God can get lost in that kind of stuff as well.

Here is some closing stuff. Sometimes, when I want to save something important – I try to put it in safe place. Unfortunately, I usually forget where that safe place is and my stuff becomes a hidden object. With all that said, I have learned that the most important things I need in life in plain sight – where I can keep my eyes on it or HIM! This brings us to an important question to ask ourselves, “Has God become just another hidden object in all our stuff or is He the object that transcends all of our stuff?”

Overstuffed, but trying to declutter,

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