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 everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
After church this Sunday, we took our youngest grandkids, Eliana, 4, and Nehemiah, 2, to visit David’s older brother who resides in an assisted-living-care center. We had received one of those early morning phone calls from our son saying, “Mon, Dad, is there any way you can take the kids to church with you this morning?”
Of course we could. Nehemiah loves “ecclesia” (church—he is being raised bilingually), and Eliana loves to dance when the musicians lead us in worship. For this Sunday, at least, they were perfect angels and left their Sunday School classes walking down the hall of the public school where our church meets, with their arms entwined around each other. Too cute for words.
Although they behaved, the retirement center was a little daunting. “I’m scared,” whispered Elle. Just too many old people, some of them acting a little different, and many of them pushing themselves in wheelchairs or being mobilized by someone else. It didn’t help, of course, that David’s brother, in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, sat at the dining table sleeping—or at least with his eyes closed—while the whole time his caregiver prodded him with bites of food—which he eventually ate.
Eliana and I took a stroll through the long hallways (made for running), explored the mechanics of the elevator (pushed the buttons), ran into a friend (chatted a bit), then discovered the cage of finches in the lobby. Altogether quite an interesting morning. To buy a little more time before our grand-angels turned into something quite different and so David could talk with Lucas, the full-time caregiver, we ordered hot chocolate (to be slurped from a spoon; an arduous process, but an action requiring concentration), applesauce and vanilla ice cream. Not quite a well-balanced meal but fine given the circumstances.
Lucas encouraged Doug to his feet and supported him while we moved out the doors into the brilliant spring sunshine and to our car. The walk was lined with huge planters filled with plastic colored Easter eggs, hardly unnoticeable to a four-year-old. “Aren’t they pretty, Eliana? Don’t touch those. They belong here. We’ll have some at Nina’s house for Easter.”
Our visit to the retirement care center was on a Sunday. On Monday the little grandkids dropped past with their father to play with the older grandsons, ages 12 and 11. The first words out of Eliana’s mouth were, “Where are the eggs?” I had forgotten (the boys and I were painting our beehive), but my granddaughter had not.
This makes me think: It is really easy to forget Easter. One of the reasons the season of Lent is so long is that it helps us to prepare and remember. Last week, rather come-lately, I began to count heads—which of the extended family would be in town? Would there be enough kids around to merit putting together an Easter egg hunt? How should I set the table? But more than all this planning, remembering Easter means making sure that my schedule is not so jammed I can’t meditate or chew deeply: Life again, the Resurrection of Christ, an event so meaningful it gives everything else meaning.
My Scripture reading in Matthew has brought me to that moment in Scripture when Christ says to His disciples,“You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of man will be delivered up to be crucified” (Matthew 26:2). The disciples also had to be reminded of unfathomable realities.
Yesterday, Tuesday, I bought cheap colorful plastic eggs from the dollar store. I’ve cleared the winter greens from the pots that lead to our house. I’ve burned that mess along with windfall sticks and limbs in the fire pit. I’ve emptied the 10 bags ($10 total expenditure) of eggs into one big basket, and I think I’ll invite Eliana to come and help me fill the pots and hang spring ornaments on the branch I sprayed white for the basket by the front door. In February, I bought bird nests and more small decorative robin-blue eggs. Four years is age enough to lend a hand tucking Easter into all the corners.
I’ll set the table tomorrow morning (more than a week early), pull out the traditional Ukrainian-style eggs I’ve collected for over twenty years, find the laughing rabbit. A spring wreath for the front door made from weeping willow branches. The eggs wreaths purchased last spring from Goodwill for the kitchen doors.
I am getting ready for Easter, getting ready. But at the same time, in quiet moments, my heart is haunted. You know that after two days the Passover … the Son of man will be delivered to be crucified. I need a day just to think about this—maybe while I’m gardening tomorrow morning.
Outside the retirement center where my brother-in-law, age 77, is diminishing into a slow and inexorable decline, where he sleeps sitting up for lunch, is attended each moment of his day by a caregiver, and where the words are gone but he smiles when he notices us and where only one inevitable ending is possible, the tubs by the front door are filled with bright plastic eggs, and my granddaughter, age 4, dancing and curious, a little scared, but eager to explore, notices that Easter is coming and asks me when next she sees me, “Where are the eggs?”
Where are the eggs; where is the tomb; what is death and life; what is failing and dancing? When is Passover? Where the Cross? When is Resurrection?
I spy God!
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.