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:
Cirillo, who lives with us, brought home two yellow summer squash from one of the gardens he tends in the estates up the road. So, I spent last evening looking up squash recipes. The challenge of the growing season is that produce must be tended or it will spoil—like the half-bushel of peaches my husband picked up for me at the Wednesday farmer’s market in the nearby town of Winfield.
For the last few summers, I have preserved peaches at the height of their summer flavor. Of all the beautiful fruits in the world, is there anything more beautiful than a ripe peach?
But, this half-bushel of fruit, although beautifully colored, just tasted tart—not the soft smooth sweetness of a perfectly ripe peach that practically melts on the tongue.
I set them aside in the garage, carefully spacing each peach on newspapers, so they would ripen to full perfection, but not spoil their neighbor with any rottenness that might creep into the bunch. Imagine my amazement a couple days later when I went to check out the produce to discover that half the peaches had turned black and fuzzy all on their own. Quickly, I arranged an early-morning salvage effort, dipping what was still usable into hot boiling water, slipping off the skins, then slicing the golden peaches into an orange-juice-and-water bath to keep them from browning up.
Even with this loss, the sliced peaches still tasted tart, so I added some honey, filled a large steel bowl with fresh sliced peaches for the church supper, saved a container for our own use and decided I probably wouldn’t have time to put up peaches this summer given this failed effort, and the fact that it is just now September and they will soon no longer be available in farmers’ markets. Next year I’ll ask for a slice of the peaches I am going to buy.
So, the small gift of two yellow summer squashes sits in the blue and white Talavera bowl on my kitchen counter. It is easy to ignore the small gifts. What are two summer squashes? If I don’t use them soon, they will go to waste. Yes! I will cook them for company dinner tonight. Seeding them, and slicing them and blanching them will capture the summer goodness, then a tomato fennel sauce for a topping—sounds good.
Cirillo will say, “These-those squashes I brought? How you fix these?”
I will use the small gifts he has brought to our table, the excess from someone else’s garden. How easy it is to overlook things carried by hand, the gifts of the land. But, when I pay attention to them, I remember how rare and how sacred the small gifts are. Someone has thought about me in some moment and paid attention to that thought and taken action. This is not trivial. I myself am guilty of neglect. And, since my own squash adventure is turning out to be a failure—not enough sun to grow the large produce—it is a gift given to me that gives me this squashy taste of summer I cannot grow for myself.
I love the principle from Scripture: To those who have little from those who have plenty. “All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had. … There was no poverty among them, because people who owned land or houses sold them and brought the money to the apostles to give to others in need.” Acts 3:32, 34.
I need to ask more frequently of myself, Where is the bounty in my life that I can share? On second thought, Cirillo lives in a room in our basement. He lives rent-free and we are his family while he is away from his own in Oaxaca, Mexico. That is not exactly a small thing, but we have room enough, and it requires nothing of us to share.
Small gifts left in the blue-and-white bowl on the counter (a small gift of thanks) must be noticed, prepared with care. Gratitude must be expressed. We do not recognize it often enough, but God is in these exchanges. And now that I have thought about it, I will say, “Oh, Cirillo, thank you for the yellow summer squash.”
God is here. I spy Him.
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.