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 every day occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
“Did you see the oil lamps beside the path?” I asked my husband after the Wednesday evening group had departed. David often just stays at the office and works late when I have listening groups at the house from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
“No, I didn’t notice them.”
H-m-m-m, I thought. Maybe I need to hang another couple of lamps by the corner of the driveway where people park their cars. Maybe another two by the old iron pot in the garden at the other side of our circle drive.
Hawthorne Lane, where we live, is dark at night. There are few street lamps. Consequently, the porch light fades into the darkening gardens when people come to visit, for dinner, or for meetings after the sun has set.
Instead of solar lights (one day maybe) or the expense and effort of installing a pole lamp (they say the ditch needs to be at least 4 feet deep to lay the electrical connections), I’ve opted for collecting old hanging kerosene oil lamps—the rustier the better. Admittedly, this is impractical in our modern age, but I love the smell of oil burning. Two of these lamps have hung outside all summer and fall, on low shepherd hooks designed for hanging plants. By now, they are properly corroded with lovely, flaking rust.
I designed the fall arrangement in our narrow hallway around the old glass oil lantern, and as I was pouring lamp oil through a funnel into the narrow hole, I thought about the lamps that had hung outside all summer with no need to light them since the days were so long.
So inside they came. Could I even get them open? Could I unscrew the little caps to the base of the lamps so I could pour in the oil? Or had they become so rusted that it would be impossible to even use they way I intended to use them?
With a little pressure, the levers pressed down lifting the glass lantern up from the base and away from the wick. Sure enough, there were wicks in each lamp (how in the world would I replace them when these were burnt away?—a problem to figure out when the time came). A rubberized cloth turned the caps. I poured oil and filled the lamps. A lighter reached to the wicks, they flamed, I lowered the glass, adjusted the fire and carried the lamps to the hooks beside my front walk path.
What a lovely greeting for friends and family! I thought. How warm and welcoming as people approach our front door in the night.
But—David hadn’t even seen them. What a letdown. How many lamps would I have to collect and fill and find before people who came to our front door would see them and be warmed by their soft, non-electric-light glare?
I’ve just finished reading through the Old Testament, a long spring and summer spent in the minor and major prophets. What a relief to reach the New Testament where it looks as though I will approach the Christmas season spending time in the Gospels with the life of Christ.
This morning’s reading was from Matthew 4:15:
“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali,
on the road by the sea, across the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat I the region
and shadow of death light has dawned.”
In his great kindness, God has lightened the world to that Great Light (for which we all long, knowing it or not) with little oil lamps shining here and there along the way. For some, to gaze at that One who has dawned, is forever dawning and who will eternally and radiantly dawn would be like staring at a nuclear blast. The lamps are lit, leading the way through the gathering dusk, with the days shortening and winter gloom coming.
But, in order to see, we must stop and notice, pay attention, look and consider and let ourselves feel the small rays of warmth.
Did you see the oil lamps beside the path?
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.