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:
Brunelleschi’s Dome, by Ross King, is a fascinating account of one of the great structural engineering feats of the Renaissance. In 1418, Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith and clock maker, not a master builder, undertook the huge task (28 years’ worth of work) of solving how to raise a dome over Florence’s new cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. The story of how Brunelleschi contrived to move an estimated 70 pounds of brick, stone and wood scaffolding some hundreds of feet into the air is the story of a genius reinventing the architecture of his time.
During the construction of the dome, in 1420, a manuscript was discovered that told the story of an aqueduct that was built through the mountains above the town of Saldae, Algeria, in A.D. 148. Nonius Datus, a Roman hydraulic engineer, was sent to survey the terrain, draw up cross-sections of the mountain, calculate the axis of the tunnel, then oversee the teams of excavators who began digging opposite each other at different sides. Four years later Nonius was frantically called back. The teams had each committed minor deviations and were not going to meet in the middle as planned. Managing to rectify the errors, Nonius observed that if he had arrived a little later, there would have been two tunnels in the mountain!
At the time, working on the dome in Florence, the discovery of this old record must have caused concern to the eight teams of masons, each constructing a separate wall of the octagonal dome. Since they too were laying brick and mortar on opposite sides, how could they ensure that their work would converge at the top?
“One of the keys to raising the dome,” writes King, “was the precise calculation and measurement of each horizontal layer of brick or stone as it was added in a gradually contracting sequence. But how would these measurements be taken? How could the curvature of the eight individual walls be controlled during the process of construction? The difficulty was made even more acute by the fact that each wall had to incorporate two shells rising in tandem, as well as their supporting ribs. A deviation of only one several inches in one of these ribs—each of which was over one hundred feet in length—meant that the connection, like that at Saldae, would not be achieved.” No one, even today, is quite sure how Brunelleschi succeeded, but the dome has stood in place now for over 500 years and is still the highest in the world at 143 feet in diameter.
The Christian life could be compared to the building of Brunelleschi’s dome or the tunnel at Saldae. A small deviation, taken at some point in the direction of our lives, can result in a yawning cataclysm later on. We become secular Christians without knowing it. Our loyalties are divided, but we will argue hotly if challenged. Christ pegged us well: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men” (Matthew 15:8-9). We are Christians in name, living out a kind of theological schizophrenia.
Sometimes we do not develop the long-term intimacy that allows us to recognize God’s daily intervention in our lives because we are moving away from familiarity, traveling along a trajectory that is hastening us far from the heart of the Father. At other times we have chosen to act in a way that closes us up in a room without a door. Now, all the work of our hands cannot atone for what has been done. It is not in our power to make things right. The divine chase has been abandoned. We are not seeking, only running away.
A plaque hung in my hallway reminds me Vacatus atque not vocatus, Deus aderit. “Bidden or unbidden, God is present.” His nature is not dependent on my acknowledgment of it. His imminence and transcendence do not exist only when I recognize these qualities. I may be going in the wrong direction, but His is always the right way. I may have destroyed my own future, but God is always the perfect past, perfect present and perfect future.
He still desires to restore childlikeness to my battered, aged soul. “Let’s play,” He calls. “Hide-and-seek. Where are you?” He wants me to seek Him in my everyday life.
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.