One of my favorite things to do with my little ones is to play "I Spy". Whether it be the books or just driving down the highway, it is by far one of our favorite family activities. As my children get older, they put more time and energy into finding "the hard ones". More often than not nowadays, you'll hear my 6 year old say, "Mom, that's too easy, gimme a HARD one!" He loves the search- he loves finding the unfindable, the camouflaged, the secret and hidden items. He reminds me a lot of the tenacity we adults often need in finding God. Oftentimes when we feel like we're walking in a wasteland and barrenness surrounds us as far as we can see, we look around and lament the lack of spiritual greenery. We scan the horizons for a hint of reprieve... longing for just a bit of color in the drab monotone of our surroundings. We want to see God in all of it. Many of us know He's there, even in the desert, but oh how we long for a larger, physical manifestation. But sometimes He's just plain hard to find.
At least at first glance.
God IS there, though sometimes not in the way we hope for. Isaiah 43:19 encourages us to keep looking. "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland." Did you notice the question here? God asks us if we NOTICE Him in the wasteland. He's telling us to keep looking! He may not be manifested in great mountains or roaring rivers, thunderstorms or earthquakes. He may just be a tiny, green, shoot coming out of the rock... do you perceive it? Do you perceive Him? Keep looking dear ones, He promises a new thing. He IS DOING a new thing! Present, active tense! He IS there!
Sometimes looking down, searching relentlessly for signs of God, actively seeking for Him can be the best way to praise Him. What a testament of faith to seek Him harder when He seems too hard to find. Faith is knowing He's there, even in the seeming barrenness of our surroundings, and searching for Him with vigor. Looking down can be our best way to look up.
Finding "the hard ones" brings by far the greatest joy and pride to my kids. They love to brag that they can find the unfindable. The reward of personal satisfaction in their perseverance is wonderful. Searching for God is the same way, if He can pursue and seek for us, as a shepherd looks for a lost sheep, cannot we also be watching for signs of His work? I think it is not too big a challenge to accept- whether in the green fields of rest or the wasteland of trials- it will be worth the effort to perceive His work... no matter how small, hidden, or camouflaged!