The little boy was playing hide-and-seek with his friends. But they stole away while he was hiding; he began to cry. His old grandfather heard him and came to see what was wrong. Holding the sobbing child in his arms he heard how his little friends had deserted him. “Don’t cry, my child,” he said, “because the boys did not come to find you. Learn from this disappointment. All of life is like a game between God and us. Only it is God who is weeping, because we are not playing the game fairly. God is waiting to be found, but many have gone in search of other things.”
God searches for us unceasingly. At times we may feel like that little boy – we are left all alone. But no; God is waiting for us to look for him, to find him. He tells the prophet Jeremiah, “When you look for me you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you,” (Jer 29:13). He echoes the word Moses spoke to the Hebrews as they were about to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land. “You will find him when you search after him with your whole heart and your whole soul” (Deut 41:29). But too often, like those little playmates, we go in search of other things.
It is not enough to say a few prayers in a corner and then get on with ‘real living’. God is not to be cordoned off, treated like an exercise we do each day along with our morning workout. To search for God “with our whole heart and soul” is to pay attention to his presence in our life. At times peaceful and full of consolation, at times hard, difficult and dry. The important thing is to stay the course, to persevere even if at times we feel we are walking “in the valley and the shadow of death” (Ps 23).
“Seek and you shall find,” Jesus promised. We find God is already with us even in the mess and mayhem of our life. We find him in the disappointments, in the failures, in the weariness of the day’s work, in the pain as well as in the joy and peace we know. As our awareness deepens we realise that God is far closer than we think. Meister Eckhart wrote, “You need not seek him here or there, he is no further than the door of your heart; there he stands patiently awaiting whoever is ready to open up and let him in. No need to call to him from afar: he can hardly wait for you to open up. He longs for you a thousand times more than you long for him.”
“Truly, God was in this place and I did not know it,” Jacob exclaimed on waking from his dream (Gen 28). We too need to wake up and acknowledge his presence in our life. He is with us, his Spirit living in our hearts, longing for us to find him, to trust him who alone can give us the peace and joy we hunger for.
Sr Redempta Twomey