Seeking and Finding
It's a sad symptom of our times...we confuse seeking with finding. In a world where restaurants promise 30 second service, where we get upset when our screaming-fast internet connections slow down to the old-time "dial-up" speeds we invariably wind up losing our patience when seeking and finding are not only concomitant but also simultaneous. The idea of seeking and not finding right away means failure, a failure of system or worse yet a failure of the person.
Things and people are worth less when in seeking they do not find right away. Things and people are less than any conceived worth when in seeking they wind up failing to find at all.
Think about that when you react to the computer the next time that little spinning circle asking you to (God forbid) wait cedes to a screen that says, "unable to load page at this time," or, "http error:440." Instead of finding what you seek, you are left with a blank screen and empty hands.
We can voyage as well into more organic, earthy territory if you wish: I am an avid gardener, and when I go out to the garden at this time of year I expect to find produce ready for harvest. The reality of life in the garden is that sometimes there just isn't any. Plants don't grow according to plan. A varmint or an insect wrecked a tomato you were looking forward to having for dinner. Rot, fungus or disease has taken the fruit of the vine before it even got close to being ripe enough to eat.
And those are the good days....
And so we turn to Isaiah, and the great songs of the prophet that enjoin us to "seek the Lord while he wills to be found." Small wonder that we hold back. The world is always so disappointing, the searches we undertake in this life are so often ones that lead to disappointment or frustration...why then risk seeking for God? What if we come up wanting, as we have seen happen to nations and peoples in the past. Heck, we have seen just how bad it gets for even the righteous. Are we willing to risk seeking God? Are we willing to embrace what we will find, or not find, at the end of that journey?
I think God is reminding us that the real merit of a life of faith well lived is found in that middle place wherein we hover between seeking and finding. It is in the search itself, particularly for God, that our formation as people of faith is forged and made. It is in the space created between these two states of being that God has the most room to maneuver. This is the place where hope is born, and where God's salvation can take root and grow. This is the place where we find ourselves both broken and mended, where we experience God as people who are both lost and found.
...and all we have to do to experience this grace? Get a little more comfortable with that little spinning circle we see in life (even as we see it on the computer screen), that state of being in between putting ourselves out there and seeing the world, and God, act and respond. Can we offer any less? After all, God has been doing the same with us since the beginning of time.
Talk about patience.....