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:
When I travel, I fly so much that I rarely take driving trips these days, and when a day journey is necessary, due to reduced productions schedules (no radio broadcasts, no television shows to tape, no more publishing concerns with our in-house publishing arm), my husband and I usually travel together. David drives, and I navigate.
So when I took a trip recently to Midland, Michigan, with so much to do in the office before I left, I barely had enough time to do more than throw some clothes in an overnight bag, pack up the Global Bag Party suitcases, and print off directions from MapQuest. I didn’t take time to put a Michigan map in the car, which I was to regret.
I had forgotten that the days get dark early, by 4:30 in the afternoon, so as I was leaving the familiar territory outside the Chicago city limits, I found the computer printout hard to see in the dimming light and without my glasses. I was forced to put my glasses on, turn on the overhead car light, read the road directions, then turn off the light and take off my glasses so I could see the highway snaking in the distance before me. Consequently, I missed the fork when part of Rt. 196 went hurling off toward Holland and the other part went hurling off toward Grand Rapids. Studying the map for a little bit would have showed me that I wanted to go right instead of left.
Immediately, I was aware of my error, pulled off, found a place to park and decided to try to use the navigation system on my phone, which I had not mastered as yet. “You don’t mean you aren’t using your phone GPS…?” a son had challenged me. He had loaded it onto my cell and made sure I remembered that. Might as well give it a try now as at any other time. So I took some precious road minutes to see if I could figure it out. A slight serenity was restored when the GPS led me through the outskirts of Grand Rapids, around a detour and back to the highway, which at this point was going east. I needed eventually to be going north.
I was still acting out the glasses dance since I had to put them on to compare my GPS instructions (what was ETA again?—oh, yes—Estimated Time of Arrival) with my MapQuest directions. Because Gladys’ (my grandchildren’s name for the GPS voice) spoken instructions were extremely soft, I had to hold my phone to my left ear with my left hand while driving with my right and using it to swipe my glasses and the overhead light off and on. Obviously, this was not a safe driving situation by any means.
Eventually, I intersected M46, which was on both directional systems, but now driving in almost complete dark, through what I guessed was farmland, reminded me that I have a panic reaction to not knowing where I am going, how I am going to get there, or what the terrain I am traversing looks like. I activated my prayer antidote: Does God know where you are and where you are going? Yes. Can you trust Him to get you where you need to be at a time reasonably close to when you are supposed to arrive? Yes (except this response is a little less certain).
By now, I have figured out that the first bar on my navigation system indicates directions regarding the coming turn ahead. Aha! I’m looking for Rt. 127 North (finally, we will be turning north). I should arrive there in 45 minutes, the next box indicates. My ETA in Midland is 10:30 Michigan time, an hour behind when I thought I would reach my friends’ home.
Suddenly I am close to the big truck that is lumbering down M46 ahead of me. Its driver slows, and I realize I have been hurtling through a small town, which I could barely see, and that there is a speed limit, which the trucker ahead of me obviously knows about, but I seem not to have noticed. I decide to follow the truck—he knows these roads; when he slows, I slow, and when he speeds up, I speed up. I begin to think of the unknown driver ahead of me as a friend—a kind of guardian angel who will drive ahead of me in the dark and lead the way. I may not know exactly how I’ll get where I’m going, but he certainly seems to know how to navigate this highway. Moreover, if any of deer cross the road (as numerous signs have been warning), the big truck will hit them first, with such impact that their bodies will certainly not bounce back toward me but toward the roadside. I begin to feel smug and safe. The glasses-and-overhead-light routine are placed into temporary abeyance.
Driving through the dark, I begin to remember all the times God has directed me when I had not a clue as to what was ahead. In fact, Psalm 78 includes a wonderful recounting of God’s guidance during a journey of perplexities, shadows and darkness:
“They forgot what he had done, and the miracles that he had shown them. In the sight of their fathers he wrought marvels in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. He cleft rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock, and caused waters to flow down like rivers.” (vv. 11-16)
Sometimes we have to drive in the dark to recognize that God is really taking us where we need to go. I arrived safely in Midland, vowed to do a better job of planning a driving journey, promised myself that I would become comfortable using my cell navigation system. Mostly, I was thankful, thankful to a God who is Map and Navigator and sends guiding truck-drivers for those long journeys that are mostly in the dark.
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.