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:
My whole trip from Chicago to Modesto, California only cost $10.50—and that was my ticket for the Bay Area Rapid Transit from San Francisco to the end of the line at Dublin/Pleasanton where I was picked up by my hostess for that night.
By God’s great grace, “buddy” passes have been made available to David and me for this year; for only the cost of the taxes, we can fly anywhere this airline flies, in the States and overseas. So far there have been no taxes on any of my stateside flights.
Over January and February, David and I will have traveled miles worth the amount of $2800. The projections for March total about the same.
However, leaving San Francisco on Friday and what became Saturday morning was not quite such a positive experience. After my board meeting and a two-hour drive hitched with one of my colleagues, I waited in line at a very crowded gate for the red-eye flight that was scheduled to leave at 10:05 p.m., arriving in Chicago at 5:30 the next morning.
There were eleven names in front of me on the posted standby list, the flight was listed as full, and I began to have increasing doubts about making it out that night. Parents were waiting with their kids, grandparents were smiling indulgently at their rambunctious grandchildren, and I suddenly realized that it was the Presidents’ Day holiday. One mother explained, “The kids have the whole week off school, so we are heading out.”
Not such a great idea, planning to fly standby on a holiday weekend. One final red-eye was scheduled to leave from a gate nearby, so when names of the standby passengers who did not make the 10:05 flight were deleted from the public screen, I rushed to the gate of the 10:10 flight, only to find the door was closed. “Too bad,” said the gate attendant. “There was one empty seat left on the plane.”
I determined that from that point on, I would be just a little bit more proactive. If my instincts told me to move fast (the gate attendants are supposed to automatically roll the surplus names along to the next flight), I might make a point of showing up and questioning the fact of an available space by myself. My name had not been rolled over in time.
Earlier, because I arrived at the airport around 5:30 p.m., I had scoped out what I thought was a secluded spot behind a check-in counter with a row of seats without armrests. If I had to spend the night in the airport (thinking it would defeat the purpose of free airline passes if I spent the night in a nearby airport, wouldn’t it?), this was the space to plop. I hauled my leather tote, taking squatter’s rights over the empty corner, used my tote as a pillow and spread the blue wool shawl given to me by a dear friend. It was perfect blanket for a 70-year-old woman airplane-stranded due to too many holiday travelers.
I discovered that airports after 12 o’clock at night are not quiet places. The overhead lights stay on; I pulled out my eye shades, earplugs and stretched the wool blanket over my head. I still could hear the extraordinarily loud automatic announcements that rotated every five minutes. They were now even louder because there were no passengers coming and going through the aisles and gates: “Contact security if you notice any abandoned luggage…” “Subway sandwich stays open between 12:00 and 4:00. You will have to re-enter at Security when it opens.”
A group of night workers congregated in the gate area where I was attempting to sleep. Washrooms were getting cleaned; busy vacuums sucked up debris on the carpets and bare floors; carts with their beeping signals hastened back and forth on the tarmacs outside my windows; gated airplanes were being straightened inside and their tiny kitchens stocked for the early-morning departures.
I thought of all the people in the world who sleep in the transit centers that take folk here and there, back and forth, to business or to family gatherings—buses and trains and airplanes that carry hopeful travelers on the adventure of going on holiday.
Why was I sleeping in this airport? Why hadn’t I found a hotel? After all, all the other travelers waiting in line had gone somewhere—maybe home, maybe to more comfortable lounges I didn’t know about. While trying to fall asleep, I considered this question. I hate to spend money if I don’t have to—reason number one. In addition, by the time I found a hotel, took transportation to a hotel, checked in, got to my room and into bed, there would only be a few hours for me to sleep. Reason #2: I hate security check-ins! I’d rather sleep in an airport (particularly if I can stretch out) than go through those security lines again. Most of all, I wanted to be in the standby line early (6:05 a.m.) to see if I could take the first flight home.
I was content to sleep, like so many other thousands, in a transit center—at least for one night, but I did wonder slightly, dozing in and out of wakefulness, why the Lord hadn’t nudged me onto that empty seat to Chicago. And if not me, why not one of the other standby passengers eager to leave?
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.