When our children were young, we had a computer in our family room. It was pretty old. Not Commodore 64 old. But old. And it wasn’t very powerful. Basically, all it was good for was simple computer games. Like I SPY. Remember I SPY? There would be a picture of a castle or a box of Lego and you would look for all these different items in it. You might find a rake and bucket and three marbles and 2 cars. The kids and I used to love to play I SPY together.
I don’t want to brag. But I was pretty good at it. Which is pretty funny! Considering I can spend 20 minutes looking for my glasses. Only to realize I am wearing them. Or waste 15 minutes trying to find a certain shirt. Only to have Robyn point to it on the shelf in front of me. Honestly, it’s a good thing that I don’t have to search for those things that truly matter.
Imagine if we had to search for God. What if we had to look carefully to find Him? Go on an I Spy hunt among the nooks and crannies? Hoping to spot Him amidst the closets or attics of life? To be sure, there are times when it feels like we must. Ever been given a devastating diagnosis? Ever grieved the death of someone you loved dearly? Ever fought for your life against addiction? Ever been anxious about the future? Boy that last one really speaks to me now. As the number of COVID cases continues to rise and another shutdown looms. The economy falters and jobs are ending. Where is God these days? Turns out God is right here with us.
One of the most colorful characters of the Old Testament was Elijah. In 1 Kings 19, he is on the run. Queen Jezebel has threatened his life. Elijah has embarrassed her. And she wants revenge. So, Elijah flees. Far out into the desert. Way, way beyond the last signs of civilization. Until finally he collapses in exhaustion and fear. He has lost hope. His faith is faltering. He has had enough. He just wants to give up.
Elijah feels like he is all alone. But he is not. He is convinced God has abandoned him. But God is with Elijah even in the deep desert. Turns out, God’s presence isn’t contingent upon our location. Nor is it dependent upon us having it all together. Or being strong in the faith. God’s presence is not conditional at all. God is with Elijah. And God is with me. And God is with you. Even in a time of pandemic. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10
This week we are starting a new sermon series. It’s called Life WITH God. It’s based on Skye Jathani’s book With. It’s a great read. The goal of our series is to focus on the most powerful thing we can do in this season of isolation. Which is to be WITH God. TO treasure God’s presence above all else. Instead of seeking to cement our security. Or trying to manipulate circumstances into our liking. Creating the room in our lives to be WITH Him. The good news is, we don’t have to search to find Him. Locating God isn’t akin to an I Spy hunt. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
I can’t wait to unpack Life with God together. See you in worship! In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.