A few years ago, some friends of ours moved from rural America to the Big Island of Hawaii. We parted ways with tears, and vowed to come see them. Many months later, we talked some gracious friends into watching the three tornadoes we had at the time, and embarked on an adventure, just The Farmer and me. Our friends graciously opened their home to us, and we spent many of those nights together on their back porch, which over-looked the ocean, and the Blue Whales that were surfacing off the coast. One weekend we all went kayaking to “Captain’s Cove” – a beautiful place for snorkeling. We had to cross an expanse of ocean to get to the cove , and on our way back we decided it might be fun to try to get closer to those great whales. We began pursuit of them, the exhilaration of chasing something so great, so mysterious. The crisp blue water became a deeper blue, and suddenly a whale crested behind us, and one in front of us.
I will never forget the immediate feeling of how small and insignificant I was to this great whale – this desperate feeling – a mix of awe and wonder, and fear and desperation. Me, on a little flat kayak, compared to their amazing power and strength in a world they knew in detail. Must. Get. Back. To. Shore. Once we paddled back to land and I felt the safety of the “known” underneath, my boldness and the exhilaration of the discovery returned, and I briefly wanted to get back in the kayak and go out to see more.
Sometimes I am on a tiny raft in the middle of a world I do not know, searching for the Mysterious.
I look for someone I am not sure how to find, and yet I pursue. And just like those whales, He may unexpectedly show me the tiniest bit of Himself – the greater part still hidden from view – and my eager chase of God becomes the fear of the Lord, and the need to hide, to find security in the known. I am not sure if more joy comes in the pursuit or in the discovery, but He never leaves me quite the same.
The Bible tells us: “My son, if you will receive my words and store up my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding, If you seek for her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God.”~ Proverbs 2:1-5
I love this passage, not because it promises that God will reveal Himself to us (although that is amazing), but because it so eloquently describes a pursuit of love – Christ is our Treasure! He is the reward, and the reason for the chase! Piper writes in Desiring God, how whenever we treasure something – our children, our spouse, our favorite sport or recipe – we can’t help but talk about it – share it with others, and we get so much joy from spending time with that person, or doing that activity. Worshipping God and pursuing Him has to be intentional – something that we do – but our motivation behind the pursuit is not guilt, or shame, or duty, but the desire for relationship – the desire for joy and pleasure found only in God alone!
It is right to seek joy and pleasure when you find it only in the ultimate Treasure – Christ Himself who defines what true love and joy and real pleasure is! And not only will He give us abundant joy in the pursuit, but He promises to reveal a bit of Himself to us – changing how we view Him forever – piece, by piece, like a canvas of art continually taking shape and adding color, dimension and beauty.
Oh, that our arms would paddle hard in the midst of those oceans, until He uncovers a bit of Himself, and we are full of awe and wonder, to the glory of His name!