When God finds you, do you even know that you’ve been found? Doesn’t it usually take us a moment to realize that God was in the area? Is it, in fact, so subtle of a finding, you may miss that fact that Christ has crossed your path? I think so. I believe God finds me multiple times a day and I rarely notice or only become aware after the fact. “That was God,” I’ll say. “Was that Jesus?” I’ll ask. To which no one else is able to reply in the affirmative or negative. I’m the only one who can answer. I know before the words leave my mouth. God was in the place, across the counter, in line, around the corner, by the car, and standing over there. Jesus of the improbable and unlikely, as Jesus has always been, came and pitched a tent in my neighborhood. I was too busy looking for the right kind of rice and a birthday card to notice. Here’s the God’s honest truth: even a guy who knows that Jesus isn’t confined to humanity’s stereotypes drops the ball. If we’re looking for other stuff or just plain distracted, it’s easy to miss Jesus and the Jesus-like opportunities trying to find us.
I do not think of myself as lost, in the directional or theological sense. This is School Road, the St. Peter’s Square of Ocracoke Island. I’m sitting in a United Methodist Church before a portrait of John Wesley. Over there is the Coffee Shop and the Book Store. I know where I am. Nonetheless, I am in need of being found. Jesus is still striving to find me in the likely places which populate my day. In the midst of my journey, Jesus comes to tell me to look, listen, and be found.
Our church’s exterminator came this morning. His wife has been out of work for five months. We prayed for her job search. She was interviewed this morning and I could tell he was a little down.* We also talked about the weather and bugs. Guess what? Jesus found me. Why do I bother being surprised?
Jesus is the king of the drop in. I didn’t have to do anything special. No candles were lit, nor music was sung. My robe is still hanging on the back of the door. Like countless times before, Jesus showed up, asked to be heard, and made to feel welcome. These seem to be his priorities. It’s kind of funny that Jesus found me at church. He has a habit of seeing me on the ferry, at the grocery store, Wal-Mart, and places other than recognized houses of worship.
Jesus is trying to find you. You don’t have to be lost to be found. That’s one of the biggest myths in Christianity. On the other hand, we’re all lost to one degree or another. Lost is a relative term. Does anyone really kick the sin habit? The important thing is that Jesus is going to walk by, unannounced, and almost unnoticed (if you’re not careful). Are you going to listen and make Jesus feel welcome?
Richard Lowell Bryant
*He called back later in the day. She got the job. He asked me, “Why do we get surprised when God answers our prayers?” I don’t know. I’m still working on that one myself.