Deuteronomy 4:29 - "But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul."
It happened again, just like it has before! It's a little over-dramatic to say that I was in a panic, but how about we say that it was not comforting that I couldn't find my red stole before our 8:00 a.m. worship service? Pentecost Sunday is the celebration of God pouring out the Holy Spirit on Jesus's disciples, and worship leaders traditionally wear a red piece of fabric, called a stole, over their robe. Furthermore, the whole congregation tries to wear red. So when I couldn't find my red stole in the little closet of my office, I started a singsongish, "Ooooooh nooo-ooooo, thiiiiiiis is not goooooood." I even started to think of alternative plans, but none were really viable. None were capable of working successfully.
And that's when I heard God speak as plainly as if He were standing right next to me and thinking with me what to do. God simply said, "Keep searching; it's there."
And sure enough, there, stuffed at an angle in the back corner of the hanger rack, was the hanger with my red stole. And I shouted to the Lord, "Thank you, Jesus!"
Now here's the point, yesterday in worship, I preached from the scripture about Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I preached that many Christians have a sense that something is not quite complete and fulfilling about their life. And God's testimony at Pentecost is that the missing piece is the personal reception of the Holy Spirit, which brings all sorts of previously unknown treasure, such as a daily ability to see God working wondrously in our lives. And just as God spoke to me yesterday to keep looking for what, in the grand scheme of things, is an unnecessary piece of fabric, God speaks to you today to keep looking for what, in the grand scheme of things, is the most important piece of your life, namely, the daily presence and blessed work of the Living God in your life.
God wants to be a present help for you with your daily work. God wants to encourage you and cheer you on with each situation that arises. God wants to counsel and guide you with each person and conversation that's before you today.
The question is, have you gotten so used to doing the day on your own that you don't even think about God's presence and help? Or maybe you "wish" God would help, but you feel so pressured to get it aaaaaaall done that you don't leave enough time for God to speak.
Friends, in God's economy, taking more time to heed God's call in today's Bible verse ("you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul") is much more efficient than taking less time to leave him out.
It's a faith proposition.
God is with you, whether you acknowledge him or not. And God is eager to help you whether you accept his help or not.
So, just like He encouraged me yesterday morning with a piece of fabric, He encourages us all today with His presence and blessings, saying, "Keep searching; it's there."
May God bless us, as He promises, that as we patiently look, we will indeed see!
"The gospel is the story of Jesus [what God's only Son has done for us that we can't do for ourselves], spoken as a promise." - Robert Jenson