“It’s surprising what you find when you’re not looking.”
Any time I’ve found money on the street or a four-leaf clover, I wasn’t looking for them. They found me. It’s like a light shines on them, separating them from their surroundings. The last time that happened was a few months ago – two glistening 20-dollar bills lay side by side, waving to me from a hotel parking lot, saying: “Here we are! Come get us!”, and I did.
Near the end of the book of Isaiah, God says through the prophet: “I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not” (65:1). I wasn’t looking for God the day I was born-again. He found me. People say: “I found God”, but it’s God who finds us (his lost sheep) as much as we find him. It’s a mutual finding.
Even as a profoundly lost atheist, I believed I would someday find “true love”, I would someday find “the truth”. I believed these concepts existed in reality; I just didn’t know where to find them. So I went through man after man, philosophy after philosophy, aiming to find true love and the truth, but each time coming up short. Oh, I found a certain type of affection in the men I encountered and a certain type of logic in the philosophies I dabbled in, but something was always missing. I was never satisfied.
I did not, at the time, think to look to religion for love or the truth. I believed religion was for idiots and losers. The only “believers” I knew were not people I admired; I mistook their kindness for weakness. I considered them pushovers and I took enjoyment in tormenting them.
Now that I’m an idiot and loser-pushover myself (lol), I understand what made those believers bite their tongue during their interactions with me. Now it’s my tongue that gets raw and bloody on occasion during my interactions with some people. But I’d rather bite my tongue and be thought weak and a pushover than to blurt out something that I’d regret later (and maybe forever).
Jesus tells us to be offended in nothing. He wasn’t kidding. When people know you’re a believer, you become a target of their derision. Snide remarks are par for the course. Sometimes they talk about you in front of you the way parents talk about their kids in front of them. The difference is that most parents talk about their kids with kindness, whereas believers get mocked. We are outsiders in the world, and we are treated as such by the world. Jesus warned us it would be like that, and so it is.
I travel a lot. When you travel, you need to be organized. At some point a few weeks ago, I organized my favourite toothpaste into a bag with my extra Vitamin C. I’m sure I had a reason for doing that at the time, but the logic escaped me for the two weeks that I was looking for the toothpaste. I searched what I thought was everywhere and finally gave the stuff up for lost. Then yesterday, when the toothpaste was the farthest thing from my mind, I opened up the bag with the extra Vitamin C (looking for Vitamin C) and there the toothpaste was, waving at me.
“I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not.”
God is love. God is truth. He is many other things as well, but God is what I was looking for when I was looking for love and truth: There is no other place to find them than in God. Such a simple resolution to an age-old quest that some people, sadly, die without resolving.
As an atheist, I did not connect the notion of God with the notions of love and truth because the people I admired (sexy men and clever philosophers) never made that connection. My pride connected with their pride, which was the source of our attraction, and their pride blinded them to God as much as my pride did the same to me.
Yesterday, God said to me out of the blue: “It’s surprising what you find when you’re not looking.” Inspiration is like that. If you go looking to be inspired, you’ll either come up empty or end up with a lame and limping artifact of little value. It’s like Christians who decide to do something and then run to God afterwards asking for his blessing. It’s better to wait for inspiration to come to you than to go chasing it down; it’s better to be first inspired by God and have his blessing baked into your plans (like cheese into a pizza crust) than to do something on your own initiative and end up with only a sprinkle of God’s blessings that land on the pan and get burnt.
It’s surprising what you find when you’re not looking.
Let God and God only be your inspiration, like he was for Jesus.