Seeking and Finding

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Category: jesus

Ugly Houses

Yesterday was a perfect morning for walking. I started out about 7:15, just as the sun was starting to peek through the darkness of the night. I’ve been walking a new route through the neighborhood some, and yesterday’s walk was less about getting finished, and more about just being outside and talking to God. As I rounded a corner, I noticed an unusual house in the back part of the neighborhood. And by unusual, I mean it was ugly. There weren’t many windows, and it seemed like something was just missing. Walking a little farther. I noticed another ugly house, and then another one. It made me a little sad for all of these people who lived these houses, and also a little glad that at least these houses were hidden in the back of the neighborhood.

Then, just over the top of a hill, I caught a glimpse of it through the trees; sunlight glimmering on the surface. It was the lake. I’m a little slow, so it took me a few minutes before I realized the connection between the lake and the ugly houses. Every one of these neighbors had chosen to build their homes with the back toward the street, and the front toward the lake. The faces of their homes were turned away from the ordinary, the noisy, the chaotic, and turned toward the beauty of the lake.

God spoke to me there. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” The writer of Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus Christ. I’m done in by the word dwell from Philippians and the word fix from Hebrews 12. My problem is that I look at Jesus when I remember to, or when I’m worshiping, but far too often I let my gaze fall back on the everyday and the mundane. Or even worse for me, I begin to look at the waves of the storm all around me. But the command is there. I’m not just supposed to dwell on these things when I think about it or when I feel like it. I need to build my house facing the true, the honorable, the right, the pure, and the lovely. Ultimately that is all realized in Jesus. I want to be like those houses with my face turned toward the beauty of my Savior, and my back to the world–moving forward in the light of His goodness, His grace, and His mercy.

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Thirsty

It’s over. After nearly a year of waiting, it’s finally come and gone. Last year, we bought our younger daughter tickets to see One Direction in concert…this year. We downloaded and listened to music, bought t-shirts, and kept a countdown of the days left. And it finally came, and went. After the concert was over, and it was just me and my daughter in the car, we talked a little. It was a good concert. The video, lights, and fireworks were pretty amazing. The arena was packed, but something was lacking. My daughter told me it was just hard to believe it was all over, and in the afterglow of the night, she also told me that as good as it was, there was something a little unfulfilling about it being finished.

Andrew Peterson (the best songwriter on the planet) uses the phrase, drinking deeply from the shallow well. I think it fits here. What we did last night was fun, entertaining, exhilarating, and in the end left us no fuller than we were when we went. That’s what happens when we drink from shallow wells. They fill us up for the right now, but that kind of water can’t sustain. It will always come up lacking.

Jesus had this same kind of conversation with the Samaritan woman that he met. She’d spent a lifetime drinking from shallow wells. One empty relationship after another had left her empty, dry, and outcast. But on that day, she met a man who offered her living water. Water that once you drank it, you would never be thirsty again. And she drank. And she was satisfied; probably more than satisfied.

It would be easy to assume that I regret taking my daughter to the concert, but I don’t. Shallow water in and of itself isn’t always bad. I mean, I love classic 70’s rock and some great 80’s music. Listening to that stuff energizes me, makes me remember when I was a kid, puts a smile on my face…but it never fills me. It never speaks to my soul. I have to drink the deeper water for that. The danger with shallow water is that we think that if we just keep drinking more of it that somehow this time will different; somehow it will work. It never does.

At the end of the night, we made a memory that we’ll never forget. I saw excitement and joy on my daughter’s face that I wouldn’t trade for the world. And, if we’re being honest, we both learned a little something about shallow water.