Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
I am constantly struck by the proximity of “play” and “pray”; this is brought home to me in serendipitous messages from my word processor, when my fingers take on a life of their own and I find myself writing, “It will be necessary to play about this.” —Margaret Guenther
Who has never played hide-and-seek? I’ve yet to find one person, and I’ve inquired of people all over the world, in a variety of cultural and geographical settings, even of those born with severe physical limitations. We all remember the delight of seeking or of being found, and this universal game is an apt paradigm for that lifelong quest, the spiritual hunt. The passion children bring to hide-and-seek is the same passion we need to bring to finding God.
In case your recall of childhood is dim, let me refresh your memory. The game begins with one player who is “It.” It chooses a spot that serves as home base. She closes her eyes and starts counting to a determined number. The game begins as the other players race to find hiding spots, and when the determined number is called out, It then shouts, “Ready or not, here I come!” It attempts to search out the hiders and tag them before they can reach home base. If the hiders reach home base and are not tagged, they are safe; if they are tagged, they are out. Hiders can run for home base without being found first by It. They player who is tagged is It in the next round.
Of course, there are endless variations of the basic form of hide-and-seek. One of my favorites is Capture the Flag, which I played as a child in the dark with 15-20 players on each team at a campsite that was large enough for real hiding—a more sophisticate approach, certainly, but basically hide-and-seek.
Everyone—even the smallest child, such as our granddaughter Joscelyn—can play hide-and-seek. As a two-year-old, Josie called the game “Gotcha!” An adult (or a teen pressed into action as babysitter) hid (in obvious ways), and the little girl went seeking and found her prey. This brought on wild gales of enchanted laughter, delicious toddler gurgles, as she cried out, “Gotcha!”
Go back in memory; play again the game of hide-and-seek. Pretend you are the one who is hiding. Can you recall the favorite places you used to hide? Do you remember those secret spots where no one would think of looking for you? Was it beneath the basement stairs? Or, high up in the apple tree? Under the kitchen sink? On the top shelf of a closet behind storage boxes? In the woods? In the barn? In a city alley?
Now remember what it was like to be so still that not a breath, not a cough, not a movement would reveal your hiding place. Even your lungs, the inhaling and exhaling, seemed to slow. You were keenly aware, every cell of your body watching for the hunter who was hunting you. You were in a suspended state of sustained anticipation.
Now recall what it was like to be the hunter. Every nerve-ending in your body is on alert. Your eyes scan the field of the hunt. Did you see a brief movement? Your ears are pitched to a heightened level of awareness. Did you hear a muffled giggle? Did someone breathe quickly, or bump a shelter? You inch closer and closer, watching for any who might make a dash for home base. You also are in a suspended state of sustained anticipation.
This is what it can be like to hunt for God. The concept of hunting and finding has great power to evoke longing, emotions, particular understandings, even compulsive activity in all of humankind, no matter the age or intelligence. The aptitude for hunting and for finding God is native to every human heart, but as we mature we often lose or neglect the capacity to do so. We only become intent on finding Him when terror is nearby, when sadness insists on keeping company, or when pain becomes a relentless stalker. Let us instead begin the God Hunt as a game of hide-and-seek—in a childlike way, with laughter and delight.
We seek for God’s Presence, as He intersects with our daily lives. When we see Him, we shout with joy, “I spy!”
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.