|[Image by Anetz]|
I've got an illustration. Imagine that you are a rich queen from one of the royal kingdoms in Europe (blame this illustration on the fact that I watched a movie called "Young Victoria" a few days ago). So as I was saying, imagine that you have such unfathomed wealth inherited from royalty. You know there's a rare pearl which you must get before your birthday in ten days. You understand that this pearl is located in an unidentifiable part of the world, and you've asked all the subjects of the palace- the Royal Collection Department, the Master of the Household's department, and even the Treasury Department. But no one can locate this pearl.
You decide to embark on a journey to find the pearl with a few people- Mapmakers, Geographers, Landscapers, Resource Managers, Remote-sensing specialists, and Photogrammetrists, all highly skilled men in their line of work. As you journey, your first set of stops are some of the major cities in the world- Paris, Rome, Athens, Italy, California, New York, Vancouver, Tokyo, Mumbai, Shangai, Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore, Islamabad, Baghdad, Casablanca, and Johannesburg. No matter how far and wide you search in these major cities, you still cannot find this pearl.
"Searching for God in the unsearchables is like searching for a pearl in the big cities while the pearl can only be found in one of the small ones. It's an impossible task. Sure the pearl exists...but it just won't show up in big cities, no matter how hard we try to find it there. So also, God won't be found in certain places unless we search elsewhere."
1. A Hardened Heart: There's something about a mind already made up. Even if the truth shows up at the doorstep, a mind made up is bound not to see it. A mind made up belongs to a hardened heart. The bible says that Pharoah's heart was so hardened that He still refused to set the Israelites free, even after nine plagues. God hardened Pharoah's heart so that those signs and wonders will be seen for generations to come (Exodus 10:1). Proverbs 28:14 says, "he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity." That's because there's not going to be any solution until that heart is softened, the truth will only hit a rock.
2. A Fearful Disposition: Ever wondered what this scripture means, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15). I realized that fear is the iron that holds the prisoner's shackles intact. Without the iron, the shackles would be non-existent. It's no wonder that when Elijah saw an army of God surrounding him and his servant, his servant could only see the enemy's soldiers approaching them. Elijah had to tell his servant to open his eyes to see that He who was for them is greater than the enemy. Fear will prevent you from walking on water. Fear is the scale in a blind man's eyes, all he sees is darkness. There's no light therein. But when that fear is gone, a newness is unveiled and you feel like you can suddenly go deep into molten magma to find the truth, no matter how hot it is there.
3. A Dwelling Mind: I'm thinking about Ruth and Orpah, two sisters in-law who had to choose their paths after their husbands' death. You see, the minute Ruth got married her husband's people became her people. But when Orpah got married, her own options were open. So when their mother-in-law told them to go back to the places where they were born, Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye. Ruth on the other hand said these words, "Wherever you go, I will go...your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried" (Ruth 1:16-17). What kind of woman was she? Someone who had left her past behind her. Oh no, the memories of her birth were still there in her brain-- the happy smiles of her father, mother, brothers and sisters. Her early childhood and the places where she grew up. But she had a future now, a better one. She made a choice: not to have a dwelling mind. If you see a sign-board that points towards the forward direction, and you keep looking backwards at where you came from, how are you ever going to move forward? God cannot be found in a 'dwelling' mind.
4. A Different Kind of Deafness: When Samuel was a little boy, before he became a prophet, he was asleep one night when God called his name. He woke up and ran to his caretaker to ask if he had called him. It happened about three times before the caretaker told him to say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3). It was not like the voice was never there, but Samuel kept answering the wrong call. It's the same as God calling us, but we choose our careers. Or our love lives. Or our pristine education. Or our financial worth. We answer the call, but we cannot search for God in the wrong call. When we find God He guides us to all these places at the right time, but not before.
5. A Shortened Journey: Imagine that the queen in my illustration eventually travelled to all the big cities in the world, and still did not find the pearl. Now imagine that she gathered her subjects and told them not to worry anymore, that the trip was over- she would find another kind of pearl instead. This is a shortened journey. She could have kept going, because she was sure the pearl exists. It's like commiting suicide before the time to die. Another example of a shortened journey is king Saul's story. He was chosen as king and he followed every instruction from the prophet, until one day when the prophet was late he decided to offer the sacrifice by himself. A shortened journey. Lack of patience in finding the truth. Like someone said to me on Twitter yesterday, revelation comes with patience.
NB: I also thought about the parable of the sower, but the thing is that parable is only meant for those who have conquered the unsearchables and now have to deal with the kinds of soil to hide their pearls in.
Questions for the Day: Have you ever tried to find God in these unsearchable places? Did you figure a way to get out? Or are you still stuck there? May God give us the grace to soften our hearts, be unafraid of searching, move away from our pasts, answer the right voice, and keep going along the journey until we find the right pearl.