By Melissa McLaughlin
How our kids loved the I Spy books when they were young! They could outlast me, trying to find the dozens of specified items hidden among the endless clutter of extraneous items placed there for the sole purpose of overshadowing all the others. These books presented a challenge because there was simply too much. A picture of our lives perhaps? It wasn’t that the extra things on the page were harmful or evil, just too much.
The I Spy books consisted of pages dedicated to distinct themes. One page might include an array of items you find in a child’s bedroom. Another page might be comprised of kitchen gadgets or relics stored in your attic.
Though each page contained literally thousands of objects, only ten or twenty items were designated as those to be found on a given page. It always seemed many of the noted objects popped out within the first minute or two of searching. However, without exception the last two or three items seemed impossible to locate. We would quiet our bodies and conduct a strategic hunt area by area. Sometimes, we resorted to closing the book, to try again later. When we found those final items, what joy we all shared! Cheering and shouting and pointing out the elusive items, hidden in plain view.
Once located, somehow the long sought after objects appeared to jump right out, though earlier we could not see them through the mass of additional distracting items.
We played a similar game when traveling in the car or waiting in doctor’s offices. In this case, however, the one who was “it” selected something within the field of view and others tried to guess the chosen object. In this form of the game, we supplied a color clue to help those who engaged in the hunt.
Sometimes, we feel like we are hunting for God. Though of course we know God is not hiding. He reveals Himself through His creation, through His Word, the Bible, through His Son, Jesus, and through His Holy Spirit, sent to live in the hearts of all who believe.
However, at times it feels as if life is cluttering our view of God. Just this morning as I peered out our kitchen window viewing the backyard, at first glance it gave the appearance of nothing special. The snow was melting as our deep freeze released its grip. Not as beautiful as freshly fallen snow. However, as I paused for a second glance I spied something so lovely, it appeared almost magical. The snow crystals were glistening like millions of diamonds in the morning sun. Some even took on rainbow colors if observed at just the right angle. I tried to capture this morning glory with my camera, but sometimes a camera cannot take in the fullness of God’s beauty displayed in creation. This was one of those moments.
As my attention was stilled, I couldn’t help but notice a tiny bird perched on the edge of our deck railing and a squirrel scampering around sniffing remnants of empty nut shells strewn about. I caught the delicate song of a bird in the distance. The blurry footprints of a rabbit in the melting snow. The green of leftover lilies frozen in place by the thinning ice. The tiniest hint of buds on the slender Maple twig interrupting my view. The smell of bright fresh air.
I thought back to earlier in the morning when I prayed for this very thing…for God to give me fresh wonder of who He is and renewed awe at what He has done for me through the sacrifice of Jesus. As I gazed at this miniature wonder sparkling across my backyard in the winter sunshine, unable to be memorialized on camera, I remembered how we used to look for hidden treasures on the pages of the I Spy books. I remembered that God is always with me, waiting for me to see His new mercies, created fresh for today, for me to store not on digital photo albums, but in the eternal album of my heart.
Into my heart’s treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin,
Oh better than the minting
Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
Of a lovely thing ~”The Coin” By Sara Teasdale
I pray you are able to pause in stillness for a moment today to spy God in your surroundings.
Maybe you will see the hand of God in the soft touch of a kitten’s silky fur, the friendly smile of a stranger, the golden moon at night, the cheery song of the bird as you walk to the mailbox, the scripture you memorized which God has illuminated in your heart anew today, the long-awaited prayer is answered, the notes of the worship song stir the embers of your heart. May God find a special way to shine in your life today, right where you are, in a way that is uniquely designed for you, so that you know, that you know, that you know, this special touch was from God alone, just for you.
Why? As we pause to spy God among the masses of other distractions, then we can bring to mind how He spies us in every moment of every day. He loves us and is waiting for us to connect and enjoy His love. As you receive His heavenly touch, may you recall His endless arms reaching for you as Jesus hung on the cross out of love for you. Rest in that love again today.
Do you have an example of a time you spied God in a mundane or unexpected place?
Don’t miss this chance to spy the heavenly Father. Don’t give up seeking Him. Past the myriad distractions, zero in on our Living God, the One who makes all things new, so you may have a brand-new experience of His love in this new day.
*Toy photo courtesy of Pixabay.com.
Read more about God’s pursuit of you in my post titled The Search.