Wednesday, August 7, 2013

finding God in the (not so) obvious places.

I’m usually looking for God at church. Always looking for Him when I’m having devotions. Occasionally looking for Him when I’m listening to K-Love. Maybe even looking for Him when I’m hanging out with other believers. But is that it? I have recently learned that no matter where you are or what you are doing you can find God there. You can find Him making Himself evident through any circumstance, as long as you look close enough. That’s the key part: you have to look close.

Matthew 14. We find the disciples in a boat in the middle of a storm. Jesus has gone away to pray alone. They are in the middle of the sea being tossed by the wind and the waves. They are scared to death. Next thing we find: Jesus. Walking on the sea. This is obviously extremely out of the ordinary, so naturally the disciples assume it is a ghost.

I find myself in their shoes. I’m in a storm and I see some object performing a humanly impossible task, walking on water. Do I automatically assume it is Jesus? No. I’m in the same boat as the disciples (pun intended), I think it’s a ghost. Naturally assume the worst.

Exodus 15. The Israelites come out of the Red Sea. They go three days in the wilderness without water. Finally they find water, but it’s bitter water. The people complain. Moses cries out to the Lord. The Lord gives him a tree to throw into the water. He throws it into the water and the water turns sweet.

This time I’m in the Israelites shoes. I’m thirsty (three days anywhere without water is hard, but try the wilderness). And just when I think I've hit the jackpot, I barely have time to yell, “Eureka!” when I taste it and spit it out. Major letdown. Never would I look to a tree and think, “Hey I think this is going to work…let’s just put this in the water.” It’s a tree. There are trees everywhere. There is nothing special about a tree. Ah, but there is.

You see, the disciples didn't think they would find God in a storm looking like a ghost and the Israelites didn't think they would find God in a tree. The obvious reason they were surprised is they weren't looking for Him; they didn't expect to see Him in the scary places or the ordinary places.

But that’s where He teaches us the greatest lessons. Instead of trying to find God in the obvious and assumed places, look a little deeper, a little farther, open your eyes a little wider, and look all around.
Find Him when you’re stressed about school. Find Him when you’re driving down the road. Find Him when you’re making a sandwich. Find Him when you’re in the middle of the woods.

That’s where I found Him one time. It was the middle of June and I found myself lying in a barrel, covered in leaves, surrounded by tires, in the woods, bugs all around. What in the world am I doing here in this barrel? Now of course I knew where I was and that I had gotten there because I was playing hide-and-seek at camp. But really, how did I get here? How did I make it to 18 years old and how did I make it to Mountain Top Youth Camp and how did I make it to Pinnacle, North Carolina and how did I make it to done with high school and how did I make it to child of God and how did I make it to 5 foot 3 and how did I make it to life full with joy and how did I make it to life and how did I make it.

God brought me to every one of these places and He brought me to a barrel in the woods and He’s willing and desiring to teach me lessons anywhere.

Wherever you find yourself you can find God there too. He’s there. The scary, ordinary, anywhere, you've just gotta look.