This morning I found myself wasting time searching for something that was right in front of me. I know…sounds familiar, right? It was not something that had gotten lost in a pile. It was not something that was just hidden from view, it was literally right in front of me, and I could not see it.
Sometimes these are reminders to slow down and focus.
I was leaving the church where my son attends daycare/preschool. I had started the car and was still in park checking a text on my phone when I accidentally started to bobble my phone and it ultimately fell. As I bobbled my phone it and my hand some how hit the hazard light indicator button. Now, we’ve been driving this car for about five and a half months, and gratefully we have not needed to use the hazard lights. And I could not see the button. I looked everywhere I could think. I am certain I looked directly at it several times and still could not see it.
I ended up pulling out the manuals to see if it would tell me where to find it. It didn’t, at least not in a way I could find that either. I was so frustrated. I didn’t want to drive anywhere with my hazards blinking, but I could not turn them off.
I became very intentional about looking at my surroundings, where a car company might hide such a button in plain view. After staring at the dash and not seeing it, I looked on the steering wheel, around the steering wheel, on the floor, on the gear shift console.
After 15 minutes of looking and almost giving up, (I had my phone in my hand to call Honda and ask where it was), I noticed it. I had seen it so often and it so pleasantly blended into the background, I didn’t see it. It’s was immediately under the radio screen/center console. Right where I had been looking the whole time.
Sometimes the thing we are seeking is right under our noses and we simply can’t see it. We’ve seen it so often and not used it, that it doesn’t register as important information, so we just don’t see it. A small group in my church has been doing the book/Bible study by Rev. Adam Hamilton based on his book ‘Why?’ which explores the nature of God in a hostile world. We’ve discussed why bad things happen to good people. We’ve discussed why it seems God’s doesn’t answer our prayers. We’ve discussed miracles and whether or not they happen. It was the discussion about miracles that led me to the understanding that miracles are in the eye of the beholder…it’s all in one’s perspective.
Sometimes we expect God to do what we want, and when God doesn’t we feel God hasn’t answered our prayers. However, God does not promise to do what we want. God’s promise is to sustain us with what we need. This is a two-part conversation. Part of this conversation is about doing our part in following God’s plan, and part of this conversation is about changing our expectations and our perspective. (My next blog is going to be about our expectation that God will do miracles without human involvement. The Harry Potter complex.) If I expect God to intervene when I am too busy to listen to God, and I am too distracted to see God’s work, and I am too anxious to wait on God’s timing, how could I possibly see what God has placed right in front of me? If I am too over-exerted to engage with God in a prayer conversation on a regular basis, if that is not a priority in my faith journey, how can I expect to see and hear God when I am in the midst of crisis?
It is not God’s nature to break into human interaction to fix our poor decisions, or to remove our suffering. On the other hand, 1. when we are open to being used by God and 2. when we are intentional about paying attention to what is happening around us, seeing the details: that is when we will see God’s work in the world.
I often wonder how much of God’s work I miss. It is helpful to be reminded then, that sometimes we miss things right in front of us, because we have forgotten how to look for them. Maybe we need a little more practice at paying attention.