Tag Archives: found

Still Haven’t Found What You’re Looking For?

by Eugene C. Scott

Have you ever found something you weren’t looking for? It happened to me a few years ago when I accompanied a nine year-old boy on a search for his lost glasses, despite that he couldn’t remember exactly where he lost them. I went only to quell my guilt for not searching when we would inevitably go purchase another pair. On the upside, this particular nine year-old was a delight to be with even when searching for a needle in a haystack.

We parked my truck near the last place he remembered having his glasses—a long, winding walking path decorated with large river rocks and landscaping bark. The boy had lost his glasses on the way to–or at–or in the universe near–the new skateboard park that was about a mile from our house. I knew the path well and was naively picturing the most likely places to search. But the path had only served the boy as a touch stone, a tether to which he loosely tied himself while looping, wending, and winding to the park. But I didn’t know that at the time so I clung to the path searching every inch of its pavement.

“I didn’t walk that way,” the boy told me shaking his head.

“Where then?” I shrugged.

He pointed off the path to the rocks he had climbed and vaulted from. I searched the bushes around those rocks. Next we left the path entirely and hunted around a statue of a flying horse he had investigated. Then cut diagonally through a parking lot. But even that was not direct. He showed me how he had climbed over the sidewalk railing and dipped behind the dumpster and sauntered through a restaurant (I asked them if they had seen his glasses) and out the back door that let us out on the path again.

I shook my head. His route was truly random!

Back on the path, we peered under every weed in the spot he claimed he had stopped to chase a garter snake.

“I bent over to look at it and I bet my glasses slid off without me knowing,” he said.

I agreed and engaged in the search earnestly. But we came up empty and continued by scouring every dink and dodge he took off the path until we finally reached the skate park.

All the while, we had a fun conversation about snakes and any other nine year-old stuff that came up. He had definitely not taken a mathematically precise power walk and our search therefore, was not systematic. I observed even now, trying to be serious, the boy didn’t so much walk as bounce, light and airy with his feet only touching the ground for the fun of it. He taught me the names of various skateboard moves and I saw the familiar walking path as if for the first time. We spooked another garter snake and marveled at how fast they are. We talked about likely fishing holes in the river. We wondered what fun things we could do with the $70 to $100 his new glasses would cost to replace, if we found his old ones.

Reversing the Apostle Paul’s meaning “I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child” and I enjoyed every moment of it. Being a nine year-old ain’t so bad.

Maybe that’s what Jesus tried to get us to see when he called the children onto his lap and told his adult followers to have a child-like faith. Maybe the “kingdom of heaven,” as Jesus talked about it and lived it, is more than a “straight and narrow path” defined by rules and systematic searches and time lines and well-defined adult perceptions and ideas. What if the freedom Jesus promised his followers is better illustrated (and lived!) by a young boy turning his search for his glasses into another adventure? What if our pursuit of meaning and Jesus himself became a fun and loopy path? What if we never find what we are looking for because we are looking in the wrong ways?

On the way back from the skate park, empty-handed, I had pretty much given up the search. I was not surprised. I had begun the search thinking I would not find what I was looking for (to paraphrase Bono) anyway. So, as I walked, I looked down at the ground only occasionally, just because I should.

Then, nearing the point our search had begun, I glanced down and spied my nine year-old companion’s glasses sitting in the landscaping bark folded neatly as if someone had purposefully placed them there.

The boy saw them too.

He squealed; his face beamed; we high-fived. We danced around as if we had found Jesus’ “pearl of great price.”

“I was just praying we’d find ‘em,” he said. “Jesus dropped ‘em right where you were lookin’.”

Immediately my adult mind found a more plausible explanation for how the glasses ended up neatly folded where we had already searched. I wish it hadn’t.

Eugene C. Scott writes the Wednesday Neighborhood Cafe blog.  If you’re reading this on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com. Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO.

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I Found God. Or Did God Find Me?

“I found God on the corner of 1st and Amistad,” goes the popular Fray song. Many of us who talk about knowing God talk that way. “I found Jesus,” people say.

“Was he lost?” I want to ask.

Does God crouch down behind a bush, counting to a billion, playing hide and seek with us? Or does God seek us?

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

2 Kings 6:1-7:20

Acts 15:36-16:15

Psalm 142:1-7

Proverbs 17:24-25

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

2 Kings 6:1-7:20: There’s a cliché that asks, “If you can’t find God, guess who has moved?” This is a guilt-line to try to convince us we can’t sense God because we are doing something wrong. Maybe. But the four lepers found out that it was God who had moved. God was not sitting against the city wall waiting for them to die, as they were. God was out in front of them taking care of business.

“If you can’t find God, guess who has moved?” Sometimes the answer is: God. And we need to get up and follow.

Acts 15: Paul and Barnabas argue over young John Mark. As far as we know, they never work together again. A deep friendship is broken. But God redeems even this. In place of Barnabas, God provides Silas, Timothy, Titus, and many others as partners for Paul.

And John Mark matures and becomes a partner of Peter–another person Paul argued with–and eventually writes The Gospel According to Mark.

When we give our disagreements and disappointments to God, he turns them into better stories.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

I believe God seeks us out.

For me this is really good news because I’ve never been able to find anything. “If it was a snake it would have bit you,” my mom used to say pointing out my lost shoe right under my nose. If not for my wife, I would have starved to death long ago because of my inability to find food in the refrigerator.

This is genetic, some say, part of being a male.

Maybe so. Even though God is pretty big, I’ve over-looked him often enough. Then some of us even refuse to look.

I once saw a magazine advertisement that asked, “What do you do if people won’t come to the doctor? Take the doctor to them.”

God had the same idea first. God takes it to us, so to speak. He sent Philip and Peter and Paul and Barnabas and many un-named others out to find those who had need. For that matter, God never hung out a shingle for his spiritual health clinic, hoping we would seek him out.

“Where are you?” God asked Adam and Eve. God sought out Abraham, Moses, the Samaritan woman at the well, and, in Acts 16, Lydia. God even seeks out you and me. As a little boy, I once ran away to see if my mom would look for me. She did. It felt great–not the spanking I received after she found me–but that she cared enough to seek me out.

Did you know God cares so much about you he is always on the hunt for you? The Hound of Heaven, Francis Thompson called God in his poem by the same name.

“Lost and insecure, You found me, you found me,

Lying on the floor, where were you? Where were you?”

The Fray ask as if it’s God’s fault we hide from him. Maybe, if you haven’t already, it’s time to stop running.

  1. Which passage spoke to you and why?
  2. Has God found you?
  3. If so, when and how?

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com

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