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:
On our annual trek to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario this month, road construction detoured us through St. Mary’s, a quaint stone town built around an old quarry some ten minutes from our destination.
Usually, we arrive at our B&B sometime in the late afternoon so that we can unpack, change clothes and meet all our guests for dinner at 7:00 at the New English Parlor. Through the years, this has become the traditional opening of our theatre week. This time, however, due to the derecho that struck our little town of West Chicago, Illinois, we gave ourselves permission to leave six hours later than our usual 6 a.m. departure.
Consequently, we drove through St. Marys around 8 o’clock in the evening, on Canada Day weekend, the national holiday that is similar to our Fourth of July. It was an exquisite transit through the summer dusk. A drowsy, happy lethargy seemed to be settling itself, like a weary housewife into a cushy chair, on the farmland. Canadian flags waved from flowerpots and from front porches and were strung across the Main Street in garlands. The vertical bicolor triband of red, white, and red centered with a stylized red maple leaf (l’Unifolié, French for “the one-leafed”) was proudly displayed everywhere.
The little stone town and the neighboring countryside through which we drove, unintentional detour though it might have been, felt as if the people and the land and the birds and beasts were taking a long companionable sigh, relaxing into the soft night as it set around us. To the left, the setting sun striated the sky with streaks of pink and azure; to the right, a round transparent full moon floated up from horizon. The green land undulated before us, maize wheat plots stitched themselves to the patchwork fields of green corn. Birds above soared, rising and falling along the gentle air currents.
As many detours do, this route through St. Marys had led us into a magical, mystical moment in time, unexpected, unanticipated, but swelling with an almost unearthly loveliness. All, all is at rest. All, all is at peace.
In his book Realms of Gold: The Classics in Christian Perspective, Leland Ryken writes about the genre of fantasy. He makes a point that fictional realism though made up does not violate what happens in the world in which we live. “Fantasy, by contrast, does not reproduce the empirical world but creates an alternate world that part of the time violates the limits or rules of the real world.” He mentions that J.R.R. Tolkein says that fantasy has an “arresting strangeness.”
Then Ryken goes on to state: “The concept of wonder or mystery is also a common theme in recent defenses of fantasy. By putting us in touch with other-worldly events and places, fantasy awakens both our longing for transcendence and our awareness that it is real. The more completely technology dominates our society, the stronger will be the appeal of fantasy.”
There have been in my life many unplanned, unprecedented mythic moments—a parentheses in time so laden with a kind of other-worldly transcendence—that my attention has been arrested. It is though I’ve stepped through a door in a wardrobe while rummaging for a warm coat and found myself suddenly, suddenly in Another World on the Other Side.
These moments convince me that there is a place, territory and a time where all, all is at rest, where the world is not torn and treacherous, where peace is palpable in the people and the animal kingdom and in the land.
This happened to me on our journey to the Shakespeare Festival as construction signs diverted us from Highway 7 through the little stone town of St. Marys, built long ago around what is now an aging quarry. Thank God for detours, for moments of living fantasy that remind us that mystery and wonder are near and waiting and truly real.
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.