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:
Finding a place to put the Christmas puzzle together has been problematic. In the past, there was always a race between finishing the puzzle and setting the dining room table for Christmas dinner. The table in front of the fireplace holds the Advent wreath and candles. The small gaming table in the Living Rooms is home to the tabletop Christmas tree and the lovely Nativity set I brought home one year from Alacala, Spain.
Since I’ve started to set the dining tables at the beginning of each season and leave them up until time to change the settings roles around, even the dining room table has become off limits to puzzle making.
Then there is the matter of lighting. We are always dragging table lamps closer so that we can see the multitude jigsaw shapes of a 1000 piece puzzle.
This year, because I was so organized and had the house all decorated (for the most part) two whole weeks before Christmas Day, I turned the table in the finished basement into a standing game table, a puzzle-making place or a drawing and coloring and painting table for the grand kids. Then I pulled a large white board out of storage, covering the tabletop and voila! we had the perfect spot (with more than enough bright light reflecting off the white board) to start a puzzle and keep it going for several days without needing to move it, without bumping it and loosing pieces and without needing to squint in order to see those miniscule hints—colors and chopped off eyes and hands and folds in the garments—and borders, of course. There was even enough room to set up the box top for permanent reference.
I don’t know why this was so satisfying to me. I went to bed thinking about my husband and two of our adult sons peering at puzzle pieces, making quiet comments, their heads bent under the adequate light, the puzzle growing more complete with the hour and over the next three days, depending upon how much time each puzzle-maker was available to spend working at it, finally being finished.
My five-year-old granddaughter mischievously stole one piece and hid it, making us think that we only had a 999-piece puzzle, but her giggles gave her away and that gratifying last moment came at last when the final piece was placed in the very middle of the project.
The puzzle traditionally stays out on a table finished for a couple days, but this year, with grandchildren playing in the basement, I put it away, taped the box closed, and labeled the top “Done on Christmas 2012. All pieces here.” I should have written, “Found a really good place for a puzzle table, with fantastic lighting and a whiteboard big enough to hold the whole effort in process. Good job!”
My list of thank-yous to God was long the day after Christmas. The roast (an expensive once-in-a-lifetime purchase) was sublime, the Yorkshire puddings puffed high out of their specialty pans, the platter of white root vegetables—rutabagas, turnips, onions, parsnips and just a touch of color with carrots—was a hit with the family. We were happy and glad to be together and there was a table full of beautiful dishes accented by much laughter, but strangely, near the top of my list was this note; “Thank you for a puzzle table and a whiteboard to make it on.” These little things strangely satisfy often unrecognized desires.
We feel sudden warmth and then realize we have been wanting this. We have been troubled that it was not done at all or done right. Something we wanted and had forgotten we desired has been given. God, however, knows. He remembers the comment, recognizes the forgotten thought. Our desires, more often than we know, are desires he holds for us. Like the good Father he is, he gives us a place to make the puzzle (among many things). He, unlike us, does not forget. Oh, we think. How did that happen? Where did this come from? Why does it make me so happy? A family puzzle-making tradition is not out of the realm of his concerns.
There is a place, at this table, for the puzzle and the puzzle-makers. And there will be one for years to come.
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.