My father passed away almost a year ago. I have a memory of my father that I cherish now more than ever. There was a fruit and vegetable market not too far from our house. It was an outdoor market where farmers set up their produce for direct sale to customers rather than through big grocery chains. This market is where we would go to find our pumpkins for Halloween, our trees for Christmas, and even fireworks for the 4th of July. I loved it! My memory is a little fuzzy now since it’s been so long ago, but I seem to remember there was a pumpkin patch behind it where families could walk through to find the perfect pumpkin.
I don’t remember how old I was, only that I was quite young. Maybe three or 4 years old. I can’t remember why we went to the produce market at this particular time, but I recall going with my father to get something from the market for a special holiday coming up. As we were looking, somehow I lost sight of my dad in the crowd of people. Panic struck me. I was all alone, and for a kid as small as I was, the world felt pretty big and scary all of a sudden.
I frantically scanned the crowd looking for a tall man with dark hair with the same build as my father. Thinking I spotted him, I ran to him and slipped my hand into his. The man whose hand I now held looked down at me as I looked up and realized…it was not MY dad. Tears of desperation welled up in my eyes. The man chuckled and then I heard the voice of my father laughing and saying, “Here I am.” Standing a few people down in the crowd I ran to him and immediately grabbed his hand, gripping it as if he might let go.
My father is gone now. My heavenly Father is not. Though I admit at times it seems like He’s left or is hard to find.
I’ve been doing a fast from t.v. and Facebook the past few weeks and I must admit, it’s been a struggle to find my Father. Too many crowded thoughts pushing this way and that in my mind, keeping me from focusing on Him. The thoughts that make up the crowd in my mind are concerns, insecurities, doubts, and darkness.
I wrote down in my notebook the question: Where do I find You?
I get lost in the crowd of thoughts and begin to panic. Finally, I stand still. I quit running just anywhere and I cry out to God, my Father.
I hear His voice, “I’m still here. I haven’t left you.”
I love Colton Dixon new song, Never Gone. In the lyrics, he sings about how in times of darkness we can’t see God, but like a child scared of the dark we cry out to see him and God speaks to us,
“I’m still standing here. No, I didn’t disappear. Now the lights are on. See I was never gone.”
The dark thoughts and darkness of evil in our world can turn the lights out on us and make it difficult to see our Father. But we can always cry out to Him and He will hear His children.
“For it is You who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” ~ Pslam 18:28
How does He do that? How does He turn the lights on? One way I think is by opening our eyes to see Him in the world around us. He opens our eyes to see Him right there with us in the reality of our world. I’m not talking about pantheism where God is everything and everything is God. No, I’m talking about seeing His handiwork and noticing His nature in that creation. Just as you can find out something about an artist by studying his works of art, you can find something about God in His works of art. He turns the spotlight on, as so to speak, and shines it in places where you see the wonder and beauty of who He is in His creation.
There have been a few times this week when the lights turned on and I could see Him. I saw Him in a hummingbird that came to visit me the other day as I was sitting on the back deck. Just a few feet away this hummingbird buzzed right up in front of me, face to feathered face. He zipped up just another inch and then zipped back. I think he was wondering if I was a flower. 🙂 I was enraptured in the beauty of that moment with this encounter with one of God’s beautiful and most fascinating of creations.
Later this week a friend of mine sent a YouTube video of these two divers out in the ocean with their video cameras. One video shows a school of some kind of fish frantically swimming in one direction all of a sudden. Then the next shot you see is from the video of the guys on the boat. Bursting through the ocean’s surface are two huge whales just inches away from the divers gathering it’s prey of fish. If the divers had been any closer they would’ve had to change their name to Jonah #1 and Jonah #2. Good thing those guys had wet suites on cuz I am sure they wet themselves! haha! 😛
“Jesus’ good news about the kingdom can be an effective guide for our lives only if we share his view of the world in which we live. To his eyes this is a God-bathed and God-permeated world. It is a world filled with a glorious reality, where every component is within range of God’s direct knowledge and control—though he obviously permits some of it, for good reasons, to be for a while otherwise than as he wishes. It is a world that is inconceivably beautiful and good because of God and because God is always in it. It is a world in which God is continually at play and over which he constantly rejoices. Until our thoughts of God have found every visible thing and event with his presence, the word of Jesus has not yet fully seized us.”
No, He hasn’t left me in the crowd. Though at times the darkness scares me, He hasn’t left me alone in the dark either. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” is a promise and He will keep it. Comforting words for a child that can get scared out of her wits when her Daddy is no where to be seen.
If you get lost in the dark and in the crowd, stand still and cry out to Him. Quiet your thoughts and listen for His word to you saying, “I’m still here.”