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:
I had a preaching responsibility in church the third Sunday of Lent, March 3, and I arrived back in Chicago from a documentary film shoot in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, February 27, a day later than planned because of a snowstorm closing down O’Hare Airport on the night of the 26th.
This gave me one less day for recovery time, for catching up at the office and for typing my sermon into script form before delivering it on Sunday. Before leaving the country, I had turned in my theme sentence and my Scripture to the worship leader. The sentence was: In order to live a life “holy and acceptable” unto God, repentance must become a lifelong practice that is a collaboration between the human and the divine. The Scripture, which I intended to interweave through my whole talk, was Psalm 51.
On Friday night, the younger grandchildren hit our house—Eliana, age 5, Nehemiah, age 3, and Annaliese, who is still a baby, only four months old. We love that they enjoy being with us, but when I say “hit” the house, that is exactly what I mean. There is a wall of activity and delight and noise that fills the rooms as major physical displacement begins when they pull out toy bins and favorite games.
Nehemiah was playing with a toy construction system that frustrated him. We’ve been trying to teach him not to collapse in howls and screams but to say, “Please help me.” However, the tower (monster) he was creating kept breaking apart, and this resulted in a massive meltdown with accompanying (very loud) sound effects.
Later, after we had calmed him, fixed the uncooperative building toy and soothed his feelings, Nehemiah’s mother said, “Now you need to tell Nina you’re sorry.”
He pouted his mouth, and his fat little cheeks puffed, he looked down and said in a clear and repentant voice, “I’m sorry, Nina.” It was the perfect illustration for the point I was making in the sermon (but I didn’t realize the gift had come my way until I spent all Saturday morning working on the manuscript). Then I thought, “Oh, my goodness. That is a perfect way to illustrate how adults act with our own Heavenly Father.”
Indeed, it was one of those classic illustrations out of the life of a child that clarifies succinctly the behavior of adults. On Monday evening, my daughter-in-law dropped past to help us finish up some leftovers. “I heard that Nehemiah made it into your sermon on Sunday.” See—the word about a good metaphor travels far.
One of the ways we teach people to look for God intervening in their everyday lives is in this category of “help to do God’s work in the world.”
Because I’ve written in religious markets, spent 20 years carrying my small share of broadcast work, I’ve discovered that the very quotes I need, the very ideas I’m seeking, are stimulated at just the right moment. Even the Scriptures I want to use are often embedded in that morning’s office prayer. They are nearby somewhere, at hand.
Not only is repentance a matter of a collaboration between God and man and God and woman (the point of this sermon), but there is a collaboration that goes one when a teacher is attempting to make this spiritual reality clear.
Thank you God. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your Name give glory because of your love and because of your faithfulness.”
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.