Have you ever searched for something and been unable to find it? I went with a group of women from our congregation to Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, IL. As we were walking, there were these signs that kept pointing to the Garden of Reflection. The arrow kept pointing on ahead. I tend not to look at maps I just follow the signs. Well the sign kept pointing and I was looking for a garden - a spot with benches where you could sit down and pray while looking at the flowers and trees. We were walking and walking around this pond that was not the prettiest pond at the gardens although it did have koi fish that would flock toward you and there was a lily pad blooming. But I didn’t see a garden beyond the path. It wasn’t until we were at the other side of this big pond that I looked at my map which read Garden of Reflection on the pond. I had been looking in the wrong way. I had missed the garden of reflection while searching for the garden.
When I got home and started looking at the photos I had taken, I noticed two of them that showed the Garden of Reflection. I had captured the reflection of the foliage on the water. I could see in the photo the reflection that was clearer because the camera had chosen that to focus on. The reflection I had been looking for was found. But I had missed part of what I was seeking. I had missed the chance to stop there at the pond and reflect. I missed the chance to see what was being reflected in the pond both literally and figuratively because I was so busy searching.
Do we sometimes miss God, because we are so busy searching that we forget to find what we are looking for? There is a story told about Elijah, who meets an Angel who helps him on the journey and tells him that God will pass by while he is on the mountain of the Lord.
Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him…… I Kings 19:11-13
Elijah almost missed God because he was searching for the spectacular. He was so busy searching in all the incredible chaos of nature that he almost missed God coming in the sheer silence. Take time this summer to stop searching for God and you may be surprised where God finds you.