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:
To friends who admire the garden (not the vegetable garden, which is too new and experimental, but the perennial gardens both in the back and in the front), I find myself saying:
“Yes, after 30 years of a thousand false starts.” Suddenly, it seems as though the plants are saying to one another—Hey, buddy! Here’s a good place to grow. You’ll like it here. Most everyone puts out. The lady waters us pretty regularly. Birds fly by, dropping seeds and shells. A family of chipmunks scurries. We have friends. God is blessing the ground (even with its clay bed). I think you’d better try us out.
After years (decades) of killing more plants than I encouraged to life, after weeks of summer travel/speaking where my transplants faded and died from lack of attention, I finally began to plant where the green things grew and flourished, rather than insisting that I would like a pink blooming flowering plant here no matter how much sun it did not receive. I wept tears of frustration and just decided that flowers were a byproduct; I would have to learn to love shade gardening. I would have to learn to allow plants to stay where they were happy.
A gardening friend taught me a great lesson: Plant by leaf contrast and color variation. So I did. A spiky plant (shade-tolerant) would become neighbor to a round leaf plant. I discovered the variants of green—smoky grey-blue green, bright cerise green, etc., etc.
Now I positively swear that the plants wave at me as I pass by. Hey, lady! Looka us! Looka us! Don’ we look good together—him and me. We’ve become great friends. Like your yard, lady. Great place for the little seedlings too.
I know that it takes a good three years for the perennials to put their roots deeply down in order to grow lush verdant leaves (and sometimes even flowers!). I know finally that clay in the soil is not all bad (though I will never stop digging in kitchen garbage, throwing pulled weeds in the compost, and turning over the mulch in my effort to cut the impermeability of the clay bed beneath the topsoil). Finally, I understand that clay holds the moisture longer than friable loam; it also gloms onto nutrients.
My patient learning process is now paying off. I cannot keep up with reproduction: the Canadian ginger, the anemone (windflower), the ligularia, the filipendula, the monarda, or the Artemisia lactiflora. I have divided and transplanted them all over the yard. I am beginning to give divisions to friends, and I am in the enviable position of needing to hold an end-of-the-year “last chance to plant” sale.
How did this happen? I guess I just did not give up.
The morning light slanting from the east is beautiful in my garden, and the late summer sunset casts magical shadows of contrasting hues. The birds (and the squirrels and the chipmunks) satisfy themselves at the bird feeders. I can hear the gathering songs as chickadees, nuthatches, yellow goldfinches and cardinals fly from branch to branch in the treetops.
We are at peace here—even with my novitiate vegetable garden attempting valiantly to grow as it is coded to do … without sun.
This is called amity, garden geniality; this harmony, for however long or short it lasts, is a sign of God’s favor, of His presence, of the exterior formulation of His invisible being. All the Old Testament prophets knew that a sign of the Almighty’s blessing resulted in verdure, in abundance.
Haggai reminds the people of Israel that when they disobey and do not walk in God’s ways, there is blight on the land. But, when they return to Him, a sign of His approval and blessing is full barns, ripe and plentiful harvest, and God’s favor. The people began to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem (which they had neglected to do) and when just the foundation was laid, Haggai speaks forth this word from God: “I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn (before sowing), before you have harvested your grain, and before the grapevine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have produced their crops. From this day onward, I will bless you.” Haggai 2:19.
The world in my yard on Hawthorne Lane, West Chicago, for this moment, is good; it mediates between the noisy abundance of the created thing and the sublime silence of the Creator. There is a whisper of His blessing in the breeze, in the harmony of the growing things, in the small creatures that visit us, and among the people who live here or who stay awhile to visit.
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 email@example.com 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.