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:
September is almost gone. Vacations are over. Yellow school buses pick up students for school. The flags hung for Labor Day have been rolled up and stored away. We wore jackets to work this morning. The leaves on the trees are not yet turning, but we open our doors, look around and say to one another, “Fall is in the air, isn’t it?”
Looking back on the summer, we mark the fact that we endured a long drought, weeks of unusually high temperatures (the third-warmest summer on record), and a destructive derecho that tore out century-old oaks and left our yards, front and back, in ruin.
Yet there were gifts in this summer. The derecho hit our shaded yard on the 29th of June. A week later, crews from our church cleared away the broken limbs, power-sawed down the broken trees, and hauled about 12 truckloads of debris to the street where the city quickly sent out crews to remove the unsightly mounds that reminded us daily of nature’s ugly streak.
On July 8th I realized I would have to retool my gardening skills; our shady glen had turned into a sun-loving paradise. About two weeks later, I noticed that squash vines (or some kinds of vine) were proliferating around the bee hives. I remembered that I had dug in kitchen garbage; something unknown to me and unintended by me was luxuriating in the hours of almost constant sun.
Today, in late September, I have picked four 8-inch white pumpkins from those vines, which have spread themselves over a cleared section of ground that is almost 12 feet by 12 feet. A little research on the cucurbitaceae family provides me with intriguing information: Pumpkin flowers are either male or female. They need to be cross-fertilized. How fortunate that the most intense sun falls on a recently cleared patch where the new beehives have been placed! Part of the amazing growth of these vines (which generally take 90 days to produce fruit) has to be due to the activity of our non-hostile bee population.
Some of God’s gifts come to us without our planning and without our asking. Every time I pass this outdoor room full of pumpkin vines and spy the white rounds peeping out from under the great green leaves, I laugh. God’s incongruity in my life—His working despite me, around me, instead of me—is worth my full-throttle guffaws. I’ve labored over the pitiful front yard garden, which was totally eliminated by drought, scorching temperatures and too-much shade—I’m planning to dig everything under but the strawberry plants. But I have done nothing—NOTHING—to encourage the wild growth of the white pumpkins. I didn’t even plant the seeds. I simply dug in the kitchen garbage.
Unfortunately, I suspect there is a dark worm hardening in the depths of my soul, a moldering fungus of attitude that really thinks God’s work in the world is dependent upon my gifts and my efforts and my activities. How the lowly glowing white pumpkins decry this fallacy. God is not dependent upon me or upon what I do. He does, however, delight in collaborating with me when He so chooses.
September is almost gone, and I am laughing at the white pumpkins on the vine, who owe nothing to me, but everything to the sun and the storm-cleared patch and the busy bees, and who are now turning their round, washed faces to give praise to the One who is really responsible for their very being. Sometimes the gifts that come our way without planning or asking are the best gifts of all.
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.