Jakson cheats! Well, maybe not cheats so much as he lets his unbridled enthusiasm and his wonderful curiosity get the best of him. When we play hide-and-seek he can’t keep his eyes closed. I say, “Okay Jakson, Poppy C is going to hide. Cover your eyes and count to 374”. (I cheat too.) And he always peeks. He wants to know where I am going. He just can’t wait until that moment when he finds me stuffed between the washing machine and the dryer and we all yell and roll in the floor and then start the thing all over again.
I wandered on to this verse the other day. 2 Chronicles 16:9 “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” I know I’ve read it before but this time it struck me that God can’t keep His eyes closed. His unbridled enthusiasm for us, and His wonderful curiosity causes Him to peek. All the time. At me and you. He is so crazy about you that He just can’t wait to find you stuffed between the washing machine and the dryer and pull you out and bless you in some way that just knocks your socks off. (That is a profound theological expression.)
I think that most of us have this picture of God as a grumpy, old grandfather who really is just a little irritated at us all the time. He tolerates us as long as we stay out of His way but He really wishes that Jesus would come and get us out from under His feet so He can go back to the important business of making sure the sun rises and telling the ocean how far to come in on high tide. Okay, maybe I confessed too much. Maybe that’s not your picture. Maybe it’s just mine.
In either case, I am beginning to believe that it is not true. I am starting to figure out that the God of the universe is head over heels in love with me. Not in some generalized, all encompassing way, but in a personal, let’s laugh and have some fun together way. God peeks. He looks over the edge of heaven and says, “I can’t wait to bless that guy today.” “I am so excited about what I am going to do for her right now.” “Hey, angels, Watch this. I am going to do something so cool for that family that it will knock their socks off.” (I told you!)
Jesus says in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” The whole love thing emanates from the heart of the Father. Jesus goes on to say, “I have told you these things so that your joy may be complete.” God’s plan for you is full of joy and good stuff. He is all about loving you in ways that you cannot imagine.
One of the awesome things about God’s love for us is that it comes at the most surprising times. Often in moments that seem dark to us. When we are wedged between washer and dryer and can’t figure out how to escape. When life is crashing in and we are about ready to give up the game. God has been watching us the whole time and He shows up. If we keep looking we will see Him bouncing around the corner saying, “I knew you were here. Now let me get you out of this tight squeeze.” Just a few verses earlier, in verse 2, the writer says, “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Chron. 6:2)
Back when Doris and I were at our very worst place we started playing a game with God. It was hard to do at first, I don’t think either one of us thought He was really very interested in us. I sure didn’t feel like I deserved any favor from Him. I was living in Florida and Doris was in Tennessee. We didn’t know if our marriage would continue and everything that we thought mattered was pretty much taken away. Probably out of desperation as much as anything else, Doris began to pray each day, “God, show me one thing today to let me know that you love me.” She shared that with me and I began to pray the same way. And here’s the deal! Everyday God would do something to remind us that His eyes were still on us and that He “loved us with an everlasting love.” Sometimes it would be as big as a check in the mail or a call from an old friend. Other days it would be a parking place up front at Walmart. But every day we would find evidence that God loved us and was showing Himself to be strong for us “at just the right time.”
Two things became clear to us and still are. First, we have to keep our eyes open too. We have learned to look for God’s blessing on our lives. We still do today. Listen, His goodness and grace is all around us. His mercies are new every morning. We have to intentionally seek them out, I admit when I am hidden in a dark closet and the whole world seems to be against me it is not easy to see God’s best. But it is there. Look. Open your eyes. Recognize it. A simple sunrise. A puppy’s kiss. A song on the radio. A card from a friend. Learn to look everyday for the blessings of God in your life.
And the second thing, when He finds you, admit you’ve been found. Say it out loud. Tell somebody else. Acknowledge the love of God in your life at that moment. The more we confess His blessings the more attune we become to what He us doing in us and for us. We express our gratefulness to Him and He just starts the thing all over again. I would get a call from a pastor friend and I would say, “Thank you God. I believe you did that just for me.” Doris would find a five dollar bill in the bottom of her purse and she would say, “Lord, I know that you love me today.” And the more we declared His grace, the more grace we saw to declare. We still do that today.
I know you may be going through tough times. I am sure it seems like everyone, including God, has taken their eyes off of you. But God always peeks. He knows where you are and He can’t wait to do something so good for you. Look for it. Say it out loud. And the game is on. Try that today. I promise you He will amaze you with His love. Now, close your eyes and count to 374…. Mike
We are on the countdown to Simply Free. If you haven’t registered yet and picked your break out sessions and ordered your lunch, please do. If you can’t make the whole weekend drop by when you can. Pastor Eddie Turner is telling his story on Friday night. That session will be from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Saturday we go from 8:30am to 11:30am and from 12:30pm to 2:30pm. Wear extra socks. They will be blessed off!