Have you ever lost something extremely important or valuable? Misplaced items is one of my husband’s pet peeves. It makes him crazy! I can’t say it’s a good feeling in my mind, either. I realize my limits when something is lost, because I can’t find it. No amount of wanting to find it will make it appear to me. I feel powerless to locate the item, no matter if it’s important or insignificant. I am limited, because I don’t know where it is.
One of the items that seems to often go missing in our house is our three-year-old Hannah’s lovey, “Nini.” And she’s always lost at bedtime. There have been numerous times that Andrew and I have torn the house apart searching for Nini, sometimes for hours, while a distraught Hannah waits in her bed for her beloved blankie to be found.
Last week Nini was lost at bedtime, and as we retraced our steps through the day to try and remember the last time we saw her, I recalled seeing Hannah take her outside. Into the darkness I went in search of Nini, even though Andrew had already looked there. We had searched the house high and low for nearly an hour, so I figured a second look outside was permissible, and the urgency to locate her was quite real in my heart.
Out there in the quiet darkness of the night as I walked my yard, God’s presence felt so much more tangible than in the hustle and bustle of the day full of many distractions. As I searched, God called to mind several passages and parables of lost items from the Bible. But the one that stood out boldest in my mind was this:
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:13)
I was searching for Nini with all my heart, with an urgency that I rarely feel when seeking the Lord. Yet, how much more valuable is his kingdom and his wisdom? Jesus teaches several parables on the worth of his kingdom in the gospels.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matt 13:45-46)
All he had, friends! He sold all he had. His whole life didn’t compare to that pearl! We should be seeking Jesus and his kingdom with all that we have, because nothing on this earth compares with him.
How many worthless pursuits are we on in this life? What are we spending energy searching for and seeking that amounts to chasing the wind (Ecc 3)? Solomon calls those pursuits meaningless. Yet we chase them as if life depends on us obtaining them.
Isaiah also speaks of our earthly ambitions in a similar way:
“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (55:2)
As I walked over every step of my backyard looking for Hannah’s beloved Nini, I felt my priorities re-orient mentally. My faith and my pursuit of Jesus need to be first.
What in your life is taking time and energy that should be given to seeking Jesus? I know that we can’t just clear our schedules every day, call off work, sit in the woods and bask in his Spirit all day every day. We are called to our families, our jobs, our ministries. We need to do these things. But what are we doing to be filled with Jesus, to seek his kingdom, “and search for it as for hidden treasure” (Prov 2:4)?
I think it is as much a posture or attitude of our hearts as it is a time issue. First, we need to make time to seek Jesus. But, we can also orient our hearts towards him through all those things that we need to do, so that we are seeking him throughout our whole day. And when we do spend time alone in his word, our hearts and minds should be seeking him like precious treasure, rather that a casual exchange, as if scrolling through social media. I want my time with Jesus to be life-giving, active, and engaging, not just a mind-numbing scroll-through of my passage of the day.
At long last, Nini was found, hiding under the spare blanket at the foot of my bed. (Did I mention that Hannah is also a stasher? She likes to hide things… It’s SO fun, guys.) I was so relieved when we found Hannah’s precious lovey. But I was thankful that God took me outside to walk in the quiet and the darkness, to meet with him in an unexpected place and unexpected way. He’s there, in the middle of your ordinary, if you look for him, seek him out, search for him like a precious pearl. You will never be disappointed at the energy you spend seeking him with all your heart! And the good thing about searching for Jesus is that you won’t feel limited and powerless, because He always shows up to meet you!