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 and have to make transfers from one airplane to another, I generally schedule a couple hours between the scheduled arrivals and takeoffs. But last week, because I booked my flights late, my choices were limited, and I had only one hour to make my puddle-jumper from San Francisco to Modesto, California. In addition, I had forgotten that the American Airlines and United gates were in different terminals.
Bad planning, to say the least. This meant I needed to catch the airport shuttle train, go again through security and although I only had carry-on baggage, to save time and fees, because the overhead bins were reportedly full, the gate attendant in Chicago took my bag and ticketed it through to my destination. To complicate matters, I could not print my boarding pass through my Gmail account. The security line when I finally reached it in Terminal 1 was long and crowded. There was no way I was going to catch my scheduled flight.
I called my friend in Modesto who was picking me up. “I’m just leaving for the airport,” she reported.
“There’s no way I’m going to catch that flight,” I lamented. “American sent my carry-on through to Modesto, but I don’t know if there has been time for it to be transferred between terminals.” My friend agreed to go onto the small airport just in case my baggage came through and was offloaded in Modesto.
Such are the vagaries of flight travel. The one time I broke my own transfer rule, my Chicago plane was half an hour late (on a perfectly pleasant flying day), and I was stuck at the baggage counter in the terminal basement along with a bunch of other passengers reporting missing suitcases.
Next phone call: “Karen, your bags are not down. And what’s more, your flight hasn’t even arrived. I don’t think it’s even left San Francisco. You know what—if you take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) to Pleasanton, we can pick you up there.”
So for the next 20 minutes, I chased down the airport BART station, found a schedule, talked with the woman at the booth (I could purchase a senior pass to Pleasanton for $9). She explained that I would have to get off the train at Balboa, stay right there on that track, then board the train to Dublin/Pleasanton, the end of that line.
I trekked back to the baggage-claim counter; they had found my bag. The flight to Modesto hadn’t even arrived yet in San Francisco (bad weather systems somewhere). My suitcase would be returned to me at Claim Area 6. I called my friend with the latest update, picked up my bag after a 15-minute wait and trekked off to the BART station again, aiming to catch the 4:50 train that would land me in Pleasanton around 5:55. More phone calls, back and forth. Pulling my bag on wheels, I passed the rest of the baggage-claim carousels, up the escalator, across the sky bridge, up another escalator, caught the Air Train, got off at the BART station, down another escalator, found the ticket machine, purchased a ticket, boarded the train, got off at Balboa, caught another train 15 minutes later and disembarked at Dublin/Pleasanton, the end of the line where I waited on one side of the train station while my friends waited, out of sight to one another, on the other side of the station.
All this to realize that whereas we had been paying about $200 for round-trip tickets to and from Modesto, a BART ride to and from Pleasanton would only cost me $18 round-trip. Since I go to Modesto for board meetings at least three times a year, this low fee represented considerable savings. If I caught the BART next time I traveled, it would also save me a three or sometimes four hour wait between my Chicago to San Francisco flights and the departure flight to my destination.
Voila! This is what I call an obvious God Hunt sighting—those times when God intervenes in our lives and we recognize it to be Him. At first, His care for me was not obvious in the confusion of travel, but He definitely was pointing me to a better way. I also noticed as I left the train at the Pleasanton stop that a bus was waiting to transport passengers to Modesto—for another small fee, I imagine. If I could figure the SMART bus route, my friends wouldn’t have to drive far to pick me up—a perfect solution!
I was treated to a wonderful dinner that evening in a marvelous inn tucked into a winery. We watched the sun set behind the California hills, ate outside beneath a spreading oak. The food was prepared beautifully, beyond description. Our conversation was delightful. Since I had roused myself out of bed at 4 a.m. (2 a.m. California time) and had been traveling since David and I left the house at 6, and since I had eaten nothing but yogurt, this lovely event was the culmination of a full day with troublesome moments. Needless to say, the travel day ended well. I also had the incredible satisfaction of discovering that there was a better way, a much, much better way for me to get where I needed to go.
Travel through the years has taught me that when things go wrong, I am not to panic, not to complain. God is still guiding my steps even though I don’t understand exactly what is happening or why. Each particular journey can become a metaphor for the larger journey of my life.
So the next time your plane is delayed, don’t fret. You may find BART (or something comparable) on the other end.
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.