Day 9, If you knew God was hiding (just ahead), would you run after Him?

Embracing God’s mysteries

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 1st Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, 11 to be exact, I lived next door to a Catholic rectory. It was the home of several priests who presided over the church adjacent to our house. To me they were the men in black who smiled and waved but never spoke.

There was an air of mystery that dignified them and took hold of my curiosity. I’d knock on their door hoping to stump them with my 11 year old logic. “Could God could create a stone so heavy that He Himself couldn’t lift?” The older one answered with a kindly nod at their un-mowed grass, a smile, and a folded $5 dollar bill between his fingers. They were glad-handing the nutty little kid from next door and it worked well! I mowed their lawn three summers on the idea that it was better to be rich than wise. But those tough questions have never escaped the grip of my fascination.

My oldest daughter has always been curious about the things of God as well. She is not afraid to ask tough questions or take the word and test it. If something seems unreasonable, she’s willing to challenge it. At age 4 I remember her bouncing out of the bathroom, dripping wet with tears in her eyes, and in her little southern twang, she said:

“Daddy, diddin you say that anathing is true with God if you just believe hard enough?”
“Sure sweet girl, absolutely!” (loosely interpreting scripture)
“Weyell daddy… I‘ve just come from the basstub and it was feeled up to the top.”
“Uh- huh”Thoughts of the wet floor distract me from really listening.
“Daddy?”
“Uh huh?” I responded while reaching for the bathroom door.
“Weyell, I’ve been try’n and try’n to walk on na water the whole time and I just cain’t do it. I’m reely sorry daddy, I believed I could do it with God’s help, but I cain’t, num reely sorry.”

I gave her a hug and wiped away her tears (how do you respond that?). I just hugged her again and asked God for help. His voice came audibly to me in an instant (it rarely happens) “Anything is possible with Me, but not everything is useful to Me. Peter walked on the water only after I said ‘come’.” I backed away from her face so she could see my eyes and relayed that message in my own words.

“Sweet girl… It is possible for you to walk on water! But only IF it’s something God wants you to do. Did He tell you to walk on the water?”
“No daddy, he diddin, I just wonted to.”

I turned away, snickering, but she caught me and grinned with her whole face! Her happy little eyes squeezed out a half-formed tear, and we found ourselves laughing about it – she’s quite a chuckler! I told her to keep listening for God’s voice. If He ever tells her to walk on the water, then she can do it! (if she has faith). But before I could finish, she was on to the next subject.

I cleaned the bathroom floor and remembered the priest. What would he do with with a heart broken 4 year old who believes she can walk on water? She certainly won’t mow the grass! What do we do with the things that offend our minds and defy logic? Are we lazily dismissive in the name of productivity? What 4 year old or 11 year old have you ever heard say “well I suppose its just beyond our comprenehsion”? Is that why mysteries exist? So we can say that? A child wants the answer in spite of the odds. The adult considers it an impossible waste of time. So what’s the point?

It’s okay that we don’t know, but it’s not okay to let go!

Maybe the mystery has a deeper purpose than our understanding; but one we can’t afford to ignore? After all, who can explain the internet to an insect? But concealing the depth of God may actually reveal the personality of God (even better). Like a game of hide and go seek where God hides His ideas in the heavens, but tucks Himself just out of sight, one block up, and around the next corner. We faithfully count with our eyes closed while He anticipates the ready-or-not moment. We go looking for the answer but find Him instead.

Whether a man tries to move a mountain by faith, or a 4 year old attempts to walk on water; it shows their willingness to dive in, take the challenge, and STOP IGNORING HIM. He delights in our search like a father hiding behind the curtain while his child tiptoes nearby. And He smiles when we challenge Him with our flimsy logic, like a 6 year boy challenges his father, with a flimsy rubber sword. It’s not insulting, its endearing.

Listen, I’m only good for one or two rounds of hide and go seek with my kids (they’re older now), but if my daughter counts to 10 and then comes running, you better believe my heart thumps! And I will hide for the sheer Joy of that moment when she finds me and we laugh together. Is our heavenly Father any less loving? The mystery may be the only way He can us get us to participate.

What does this verse mean to you? Matthew 17:20b

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Embracing the mystery – defined

Jesus said we could move a mountain if we had enough faith. That is astonishing and seemingly impossible – right? So how do we embrace a verse like this? Let’s start by looking at the norm. Most will agree… Jesus said it, He meant it, and that settles it! Some of us agree with our lips but discretely dismiss the verse as anything literal. “Moving a mountain by faith is only an allegory”. Yet we still believe that a man was literally born to a virgin, resurrected from the dead, fed 5000 with a few loaves, and walked on the water. We think to ourselves “mountains just don’t get up and move!” But try telling that to the community of Mt St. Helen’s, Washington.

Others hold that it can be literal or allegorical depending on what God is teaching us in that moment. It may be a mountain of earth excavated so a church can be built, or a mountain of debt that God removes through financial blessing or debt forgiveness. Truly embracing a verse like this or any other mystery in scripture requires the willingness of a child and vision of an adult. We don’t have to labor over it like an odd puzzle piece and neither do we have the right to dismiss it as useless. In faith, ask God to reveal the mystery and listen carefully to what He impresses on your heart.

Jeremiah 33:2-3 (The Message)

2-3″This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’

I’m not suggesting that we stop thinking. With any discussion we’ll need to think, but thinking is natural for us, it’s the easy part. Listening is NOT. If we don’t follow the verse above, we reduce everything to our own understanding, and overlook the potential of God’s voice. Selective hearing can rot a marriage from the inside out. Let’s be sure as the bride of Christ, that we are listening fully to Him, and selectively only to ourselves.

The way of a child is to lean upon his own understanding, but an adult (mature believer) seeks God for the answer instead of himself. When I asked the priest that question I was a child. When my daughter tried to walk on water she was a child (still is). The priest wouldn’t answer me, and I couldn’t answer her until God spoke to my heart about it.

Embracing means you take hold of it, pray over it, ask God to reveal it, walk in it, and practice it. But you rest in the Lord, and are okay if it doesn’t quite make sense. Let’s not dismiss it when it looks implausible and say that we’re embracing the mystery by leaving it alone. God is more interested our intimacy with Him than our understanding of what He’s doing. But God often gives us the understanding as a result of our seeking the intimacy.

We’re either ten feet tall when our children listen, or ten feet down a hole when they pretend we don’t exist. If God is just out of sight and we race passionately toward His voice; He takes pleasure in revealing beautiful things that move us, change us, and wake up our faith!

I have one more personal example to help illustrate everything above, and several questions I’d like to ask you. But I’ll mercifully stop here for now and finish this post as a part 2. The subject is a bit abstract so thank for you for taking the time to dig in with me. My next post should bring it down to earth somewhat 🙂 Also, a few weeks have passed and some good things have developed on the personal side. We’ll catch up just shortly in part 2.

Blessings!

Kevin

Contact: wakeupmyfaith@att.net

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About Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams is a fresh voice among today’s best Christian writers. What he’s not, however, is a pastor, theologian or pulpit preacher; he doesn’t have a church, a fan club, or a flock. He’s just a regular guy with a powerful story, and a God given gift for sharing it that will challenge the faith of even the most seasoned, veteran believers. His transparency and intentional, elevated writing style has earned him a trusted reputation across the online Christian community. His work escorts readers through his own challenging experiences of loss, betrayal and impossible odds, to just beyond the comfort level of most Christians–the place where absolute faith is required. Kevin takes a genuine approach to modern Christianity that would rather tear away empty pockets than fill them with empty promises. Yet, his story is filled with indisputable proof of our Heavenly Father’s better-than-we-can-imagine desire for each of us, and the delight He takes in our learning to rest in His arms like happy children. Kevin is the author of The Extravagant Fool: A Faith Journey That Begins Where Common Sense Ends, due for release May 6th 2014, and founding partner in a new discipleship ministry being developed around the book. He is also the founder of the Wake up My Faith blog, which has garnered a social media following of over 80,000, reflecting varied backgrounds and locales. Kevin’s life verse is Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you”. (NKJV) And his philosophy on life can be summed up in a single thought: “Only when God becomes all that we want do we truly see that He is all we need.” –Kevin Adams 2012 Kevin is husband to Holly, his beautiful partner in faith, father to three wonderful children, and a compelling new author for Zondervan.
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20 Responses to Day 9, If you knew God was hiding (just ahead), would you run after Him?

  1. Leanna says:

    Well put my friend. So looking forward to Part 2. Thank you for prompting this lazy student to dig a bit deeper today. Love to you and the family.

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Hey Lady!! Thanks for taking time to visit – and thanks for your kindness to us recently and over the years. We miss you guys so much!! but are glad the Lord is using you where you are. I appreciate your encouragement, Leanna!

  2. Looking forward to part two! 🙂

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thanks Dineen – cant wait to hear from you. Your story still warms my heart and I thank God that He blessed me with hearing it!

      • Sam Peebles says:

        I love the idea of running after God, it implies effort, planning and training. That which we run after or “focus” on is what we are chasing with our hearts aned minds. If we are running after God then we are studying, praying, talking about, loving, forgiving, serving, basically being Christ’s obedient tool right here, right now. If we are focused on running after the world, no need for me to describe that, it is all around us. So, let’s be like children in our passion and belief of what God is doing in our lives and like adults in the fact of listening to what He has to say and then equipping ourselves through His Power so we can carry it out!!! Let us chase God with all our desire, if we do so we may soon find that what we desire most it to continue to chase our Father in Heaven.

  3. Amy L Maris says:

    Well, I just started thinking about God moving our mountain of debt. It’s huge, and since we got ourselves into it, I’m not sure He wants to, but since you gave me the metaphor, I’m running with it.
    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thanks Amy for taking time to share! I believe God wants to move that mountain if we’ll let Him – Blessings my friend! Please come back we love hearing from you – its an encouragement!

  4. LaTarsha Forbes says:

    You brought me back to my children and God. My children has faith to move mountains, and have seen where God moved when they activated their faith in Him. God bless

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thanks LaTarsha! That is exactly where we need to be like children with the parents – us with our Father! Thanks for taking time to come by and share -I look forward to hearing from you again. Bless you my friend!

  5. Nan Jones says:

    Great post!! I loved the hide-and-seek analogy. Reminded me of Abba, Father (Daddy God). The word of God thrills me. And don’t apologize for needing a shovel to dig and understand. That’s how we discover the mysteries and the awesome complexities of the Lord our God. Can’t wait for Part 2!

    Bless you and your family,
    Nan Jones

  6. Jeannette says:

    After I read about your daughter wanting to walk on water, I thought Jesus probably was smiling at her lovingly. He loves childlike faith. I am glad good things are happening to you and your family! I am going to keep on praying for you all. I also am looking forward to part 2…

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Thank you Jeanette for your prayers – God is working and now…so am I ! He has provided me woth some income for the next few months -praise Him! I have been unable to reply as quickly to my friends – but thank you again for your prayers and thoughts! Please come back – you always have meaningful things to say and are a great encouragement to me.

  7. Amydeanne says:

    Hey Kevin I really loved this post. My daughter sounds a lot like yours.. or maybe it’s the age and our parenting styles.. but the questions.. boy we get stumped sometimes. I love your response to it though. So true!
    btw, I couldn’t help myself – I made a little “quotable” on my blog from this post.
    Check it out – http://the160acrewoods.com/?p=8084
    I put your addy on, so hopefully a few people will come by and check ya out!

    • Kevin Adams says:

      Hi Amydeanne – great to hear from you again! I have actually been working a bit and have just now had the time to respond. I think one of the funniest things ive ever heard come out of my child’s mouth is “dad should we be praying for the devil?”- thinking he really needs to get himself some help and get right with God (I think she was about 5 at the time) What a mind our children have – so free and unassuming! btw – Please feel free to use or quote anything from my posts anytime you want. That is the reason it exists! I’m encouraged by your willingness to visit and share your thoughts! Thanks for the addy and leading folks our way! God bless you – talk soon.

  8. Susan Brannock says:

    Wow! This was what I needed to read. Very encouraging and I’m looking forward to the next part….and also digging through previous posts!

  9. Awesome! Thanks for sharing His truth through this blog! I love this post – an inspiring challenge to deeper faith!

  10. Laura says:

    Wow, Kevin. Powerful stuff. I had started reading this before, but had internet and computer issues and mysteriously didn’t make my way back. I just finished this, and sit just shaking my head at the awesome love that is our God. It is truly amazing how God listens to and answers our prayers – often in just the right timing and moments that we need. Not always will that be our own timing, but always His. Thank you again for writing this blog, and now I’m off to read part 2.

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