What are you looking for?

Our daughter, the almost 4-year-old, loves books. When we walk out of the library every 3 weeks, our bag is loaded with books. A few months ago, she discovered Where’s Waldo? and other seek-and-find sorts of books.

Confession: I kind of hate these books. If I can’t easily find Waldo or characters from the Lion King within a few minutes, then I’m ready to turn the page and move on.

Isabelle still needs help finding the hidden pictures, so I can’t exactly leave her to herself with these books. What’s interesting, though, is that after we’ve been through the book once and found the pictures, finding them gets easier. She usually can pick out what we’re looking for without help after a couple of times through, and I start to remember where we looked to find the pictures.

This is somewhat like faith in Jesus. Although the apostle Paul writes in a letter that “what may be known about God is plain to them” and “God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen” (Romans 1:19-20), finding God in our lives, in our world, can be like looking for a hidden picture. If He’s not obvious, we might want to give up. If there are too many things blocking our view, we might get frustrated.

On the other hand, if we keep seeking, we will find Him. Jesus said “seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). When you start looking for God, and you find glimpses of His presence — in people, in nature, in circumstances — finding him the next time gets easier.

But it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Our Sunday School class at church is watching a video series about John’s Gospel from the point of view of where he wrote those words — in Ephesus, modern Turkey. Yesterday’s lesson focused on Jesus’ first words to John, as recorded in John 1: “What are you looking for?” (also translated “What do you seek?” or “What do you want?”).

Some people look for a moral teacher when they look for Jesus. Or a miracle maker. Or a magician. Or a genie to grant their every wish.

Others seek Him as the answer to their greatest need. As a deliverer or rescuer from themselves and evil. Some see Him as a servant. Or a king. As God. Or as a man.

Those aren’t all bad things. What you find when you encounter Jesus, when you look for evidence of God, depends a great deal on what you’re looking for in the first place.

So, what are you looking for?

Sometimes we need a little help finding Him, until we learn to look for His presence and working in our lives and others’ lives.

The more we look for Him, the more we’ll find Him.

Years ago, I was part of a Bible study that met once a week, and every week, we were asked the same question to start our sharing time: “What’s God been doing in your life?” The first time I had to answer that question, I was stumped. It’s not that God wasn’t doing anything in my life, but I wasn’t looking for Him. As the weeks went on, and I expected that question each week, answering it became easier.

As we continue in Lent, these questions can guide us in reflecting on our faith:

  • What am I looking for?
  • What is God doing in my life?

Jesus’ answer to the disciples when they answered his first question was “come and see.”

Seek Him. He won’t stay hidden.

Come and see what Jesus is all about.

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