Sometimes I think, we think, God can only be found in places and spaces that have been deemed His. Like a confession booth or a church or your grandma’s house. And on occasion, perhaps, He will stop by other places to scorn someone or to point a finger, shaking it with wild frenzy at an adult child who continues to be so very naughty. Or maybe, we think, He stops by during that cup of coffee and what seemed like a coincidence might have been the Almighty moving His Divine chess pieces. But mostly, God is in the clouds, the rainbow after the storm, in children’s giggles and in buildings, especially the ones with stained glass and choirs. Or so we think.
But what if God is everywhere? What if we can find Him in the honey bucket as much as the pew? What if He were to peek behind our cubicle like He did behind a burning bush for Moses? What if God does not limit Himself to that which we deem His? What if it is true that He deems us as His and there we find Him?
My family and I just packed enough clothes to have to do without underwear for only a few days of a very long road trip. We logged over 3000 miles in our car. We played the alphabet game. We sped through rain storms and got sunburns crossing state lines. We saw the redwoods and more palm trees than we thought imaginable. We ate churros, bahn mi sandwiches and iced coffee in more places than we care to admit. We visited old friends and made strangers new ones. We counted down miles to the next stop. We heard “Are we there yet?” a hundred times. We taught our kids Def Leppard songs which might be the very reason we are truly hoping we can find God in a confession booth.
On this trip I heard God speak through Russell Wilson. I met God in a lighthouse. I understood the Lord’s heart on top of a tour bus in the heart of the city. I got some Truth when we were Shangheid in San Francisco. I remembered His Divinity when He said “It is indeed a small world” in the middle of Disneyland. I heard God question our happiness waiting in the longest lines for the shortest rides in what we deem the happiest place on earth. I asked God in the bathroom stall of a Chinese restaurant, “Can You use a fortune cookie?” …He might have answered. In the middle of the Redwoods, He told me what we should be looking for. God didn’t wait for me to come back and say hi next Sunday morning. I found God on vacation.
Contrary to what we often believe, God is not on vacation, unless you are…. and then He is. He is not away, busy at work, He is at our work. He is not in Heaven only, but also on Earth. God is not only in Church, but outside of Church. I did not go on vacation from God, nor did He go on vacation from me. We traveled together.
This makes sense that God would be our travel companion. When you look at Jesus who was Immanuel, God with us, He traveled with men and women “on the way”. Jesus showed up and taught in a boat to a hillside of listeners. He sat and fished with men trying to, I am sure, catch the biggest fish. He journeyed toward weary travelers and collided with desperation at a well. Jesus saw Zach in a tree and said “Let’s have lunch” and called travelers to follow Him along the road. He did not just teach in synagogues. He did not just sit in the temple. He did not just speak in certain places at certain times. No, not Jesus, and even still, He travels with people and invites us to travel with Him.
Acts 17: 24 says: “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
Over the next few weeks, as you summer, I will share the very simple ways I found a profound God in simple ways on vacation. (So come back and visit or subscribe to the blog and follow along with me.) I am hoping that as I share my search for Him in my travels, you will begin looking for Him in yours.
Let us seek Him, reach out for Him and find Him. He is not far from any of us. – Willow