I arrived at our get-together fifteen minutes early. Not seeing my friend at the restaurant’s outside patio tables, I walked inside to scan the lunch crowd already gathering. Still no friend. So, I requested a window table for two, grabbed a seat and waited…and waited…and waited.
After previewing the menu and making mental note of my selection, I checked my calendar. Yep, right day, time and place. I’ll call her. That’s when the image flashed—of my cell phone sitting on the dining table while it recharged. So, I waited some more and passed time making a “To Do” list and eavesdropping on animated conversations at the next table.
It wasn’t like her to arrive late or not show up without calling. I checked with the waitress to see if my friend tried to reach me by contacting the restaurant. No calls. No messages. What happened? Did she have an emergency? Or forget our date? After waiting an hour, I gave up, paid for my iced tea and exited the restaurant.
As I snaked my way through the now-crowded outside patio, I spotted my friend. Sitting behind a large round concrete pole. Sipping a tea, reading a paperback, waiting for me. She had been there all along. Distracted while waiting inside the restaurant, I missed her arrival, and the pole and lunch crowd blocked my view once she sat down.
How many times did that describe my experience with God? I rushed to meet Him. I looked around and, not immediately seeing Him, I planted myself in a hidden corner to wait for Him. I killed time pouring over a menu to decide what I wanted to do or absent-mindedly ran through a myriad of tasks—all of which distracted me from keeping watch for a sign of His presence.
Consequently, I missed seeing Him waiting for me. I missed His hand at work shaping circumstances and timely coincidences. I failed to notice how He put people in my life for a purpose or when He showed up in ordinary daily routines. Poles of self-reliance blocked my view, and impatience propelled me toward the door without ever enjoying the feast He prepared for me in that moment. I missed seeing Him even though He was right there all along.
Now, when I meet my friend for lunch, I always wait at the entrance to the restaurant. I sit and do nothing except watch for her until she arrives. And I try my best to do the same with God. I don’t want to miss Him.
Question for the Week: How do you keep watch throughout the day for God’s presence?
“From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 17:26-27, NIV)