Over the last year, my wife and I have gotten spoiled by the convenience of online ordering and grocery pick up. However, when there were no open slots available over a recent weekend, we jokingly lamented our first-world problem and made a Saturday evening trek to Walmart.
After our shopping excursion, the sea of little white plastic bags rustled in the wind as we meandered through the parking lot toward our car. Locating our little SUV, I secured the cart with my foot and opened the liftgate. Perhaps it was the way we were parked, but there was absolutely no light from the street lamps spilling into the storage area. It was pitch black!
Not wanting to crush any of the vulnerable items hidden in the bags, I flipped the switches on the tiny lights just above each wheel well. The entire space lit up! Not wanting to drain the battery, I thought, “I’ll just leave those lights on until we get home. And then I will shut them off after we take everything in the house.”
As I grabbed the last couple of bags, Pam pushed the empty cart back to the stall. I then made sure that all of the plastic handles were out of the way and gingerly closed the liftgate. To my amazement, the little lights went out! Intrigued, I slowly opened the door again. And... (you probably know what happened next) the mini lights came on, illuminating the vast array of neatly packed groceries! Experimenting, I shut it again... and to my incredulous delight, the lights went out! “No way!” I said in unexpectedly loud disbelief.
As Pam returned, I asked, “How long have we had this car?” “Three years,” she inquisitively answered. Shaking my head in wonder, I said, “Look at this.” I pointed to the groceries and then opened the liftgate. “Yeah?” She said, dubiously questioning my revelation. Animated, I said, “Look! Look at the lights!” “Yes?” She hesitantly responded, still trying to understand her oddly excited husband. Shutting the gate I said, “The lights... they go off when you shut the liftgate. And look at this! They actually come on when you open it! We’ve had this car for three years… how could I not know this?” I was giddy the entire ride home as I reveled in my discovery.
As I settled into bed later that night, that shopping excursion kept revolving in my mind. “We have had that car for three years… three years! I have opened that liftgate hundreds of times. And good night, how many times have I packed that car in unnecessary darkness? How could I have not known about that feature? It is new to me... and yet it’s been there all the time.”
In the peaceful stillness, my mind began to settle and my heart turned towards God. Exhaling deeply in reflection, a thought came to mind. "God, what am I missing in my relationship with You? Where have I been unnecessarily struggling in the dark? In Your unchanging grace, what is it about You that has been there all the time... and yet I've never seen it? What new-to-me things are You doing that I am not perceiving?" [Isaiah 43:19 ESV].
Those questions have remained under my breath since that experience. In fact, that prayer has broadened to include my marriage, my family, my church, my place of employment, and even my choir. "What have we been missing? Where are we struggling in unnecessary darkness? What new-to-us things are You doing that we are not perceiving?" Not to be titillated by some new pithy spiritual convenience... but to be captivated, motivated, and empowered by a deeper revelation of the heart of God for the world, for those in our spheres of relationships, and for each one of us.
Fueling those prayers is a Spirit-granted sense of anticipation and expectation. Why? Because I know that the God who exhorted Jeremiah, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" [33:3 NIV] whispers the same invitation to us. The God who inspired Paul to ask for a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in order to know Him better [Ephesians 1:17] is stirring within each one of us to ask the same. And, we have the blessed assurance of the Psalmist, "Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you" [Psalm 9:10].
So, why not take a moment and pray. If you need a prompt, this Steve Fry song, "Oh, I Want to Know You More" has been meaningful to me. "Oh, I want to know You more. Deep within my soul, I want to know You... To feel Your heart and know Your mind. Looking in Your eyes stirs up within me, cries that say I want to know You."
As we walk together on this joyful journey of expectation, may we discover, "Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God" [2 Peter 1:3 MSG]. Now let's watch expectantly and see how God will answer in ways that are "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" [Ephesians 3:20]. Amen.
Want to explore this topic a little more? I invite you to listen to this brief exhortation I shared on Jeremiah 33:3 called "What do you Want to Know?"
If this blog has been meaningful to you, I invite you to do two things. Subscribe to the blog. You will be one of the first to receive a heads-up via email when a new entry is posted! Then, I invite you to share this blog with your sphere of friends. You never know how God might sustain the weary through a simple word of encouragement.