"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13
After a long week at the office and dealing with some pretty tough issues, the weekend was quickly upon me and my family had plans to get away. So when you live in the great state of Kansas, where do you go to escape and find rest.... Topeka and Kansas City. I know, it probably doesn't make the top ten vacation spots in the world. I know it's not a Bahama cruise or a European tour. But in Kansas, it's the best we have besides the largest ball of twine in the United States (sadly, i have been there).
So on a Friday, my wife and I made our way to Topeka to drop off our child with the grandparents for the day. Afterwards, we made our way to Kansas City to spend some time with some new friends in Lee's Summit just outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Mike and Wendy Evans had just recently moved their to plant a church with a mission to reach the lost and uninterested. Mike really understands what it means to minister to people and not just minister for the sake of filling time but really get to know a person's heart. He is a real living example of Jesus. For over three hours, we spent time just talking about life and ministry and i began to move from worn-out to filled-up. It was great just to hear wisdom from a guy that has been in the trenches for awhile.
Later that evening, my wife and I spent time with Mike and his family in their back yard just hanging out and relaxing. With his four kids and wife, we just sat and talked some more, threw a football around, jumped on the trampoline and just enjoyed the beautiful summer evening. And then i caught a glimpse of God and faith.....
Mike's youngest, Mindy (who is five years old) was playing on their swingset. Barely able to reach the monkey bars, she managed to grab the first one and climb across the five or six rungs to get to the other side. But when she got across, she quickly realized that she could not touch the bar for her feet. She was stuck. Hanging for dear life above an abyss that filled her mind with fear and worry, she began to scream. "Daddy!!" filled the air with her high-pitched sound. Now a normal parent with genuine concern would race over instantly to save their child. But not Mike. I watched as He slowly walked and made his way over to help her reach the step and get herself down. He didn't run or sprint. He didn't get concerned or yell. He simply strolled over taking his sweet time to help her down. With this being his fourth kid, i think he had figured out that they don't break very easily. If it's your firstborn hanging, you move like lightening. But again, it blew my mind because i was seeing God in this moment.
I think sometimes I have this expectation that when things come up in my life....when bad things happen or I really, really need God, I expect Him to come running to my rescue. I have this "fast food" mentality of God where I expect answers and solutions quickly and I get frustrated when God doesn't show up right away. But I love how God sees all and knows all. And those times where I think my world is crashing down around me because something bad happens, God strolls over in His time and reminds me once again that He is there and He wants what is best for me. He reminds me that He loves me and he helps me off the monkey bars and gets me firmly back on the ground.
I think sometimes we simply forget that He is there and we are so caught up in looking down and seeing the abyss below that we forget to look up and see God standing right in front of us. And in the middle of our turmoil, we fail to really seek God. We seek out the "fast food" God instead of the real living and honest God. We want results...not relationship.
Watching this interaction between this father and daughter reminded me once again of my relationship with my Father. I know He loves me and doesn't want me to fall. I know that when i am hanging over life's abyss and trying to survive, all i need to do is "seek" God and know that He's right there. He always is and always will be. I know that I can't be satisfied in a God that gives me what i want all the time but instead provides for my needs. I know that if I have faith in God and trust Him, no darkness can defeat me or overtake me.
So may you climb the tallest ladders and swing over the deepest canyons knowing that God is right there watching you all along.