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 love travel. Someone once said, “You cannot be truly educated unless you travel in the world.” Over and over again, I have found this to be true. No matter what kind of journey I take, learning and discovery is pregnant in each moment. The greatest adventures, beyond even the exposure to new cultures, fascinating people and amazing geographic locations, are the lessons I learn about my own self when I travel.
“True pilgrimage changes lives,” says Martin Palmer in Sacred Journeys, “whether we go halfway around the world or out to our own backyards.” In The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred, author Phil Cousineau poses, “What matters is whether we go in as we go out.” Naturalist John Muir evoked the heart of the pilgrimage in his description of a single day’s hike through a grand wilderness: “I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
Last week David and I were in California. Our hosts took us to the Calaveras Big Trees, a state park situated around the old gold mining towns (one of them, Angels Camp, looked fascinating). As we were driving, our friends pointed out the spot in the boulders beside the road where the Mother Lode was exposed. In the States, this name is given to the long streak of hard-rock gold deposits stretching northwest to southwest in the Sierra Nevada of California. Approximately 0.93 miles wide and 120 miles long, it was discovered in the early 1850s during the California gold rush. The California Mother Lode was one of the most productive gold-producing districts in the United States.
Now this was interesting to me, but I didn’t feel a need to get out of the car. No internal juices started pumping. The little mining towns, which have survived and are now tourist centers with eateries and hoteleries, art galleries and boutiques might be worth exploring some day. What really inspired me, however, moved me emotionally and overwhelmed my senses were the giant sequoias.
Frankly, gold and money are not motivators for me (much), but the world and God’s created beauties in it—these are worth the journey, or the side trips, or any detour “just to see.” When people ask us, “How was your trip (a business trip with a few ventures into surrounding sites)?” we tell them about the Big Trees (not the Mother Lode).
With some reflection, this shows me a little about myself—if I take the time to look inward. The wonders around us—two groves of giant sequoia trees along a one-mile walk, on a drizzly afternoon with the dogwood trees in bloom along the trail by the hundreds—now that impresses the Mainses.
The big trees are truly big—250 to 300 feet high and 25 to 30 feet across. Ring counts in felled trees tally as much as 2000 to 3000 years old. The heart flutters, the mind tries to comprehend. The moist air releases the scent of the companion ponderosa pines and incense cedars. The trekker can’t help but understand that he/she is standing still, awed and hushed, looking up/up/up at something that shows the glory of creation. Words are not enough; we are struck with silence, and for me that glance upward shows the glory of the Creator. It is good to be in any place that calls my heart to praise and worship.
“Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.”
—Psalm 29:1-2 (NIV)
While making pilgrimages—to cathedrals, to see the Big Trees—one never knows what awesome things one might find, or what one learns about oneself. . .ascribe glory.
Many of you are planning summer journeys; don’t forget the inward one that accompanies the outward miles. You never know what you might discover about yourself!
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.