You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.    – Jeremiah 29:13 

Some of the sweetest moments of my day come when I pick my young son up from school.  Usually I arrive by dismissal time and wait outside the building’s entrance.  He knows where I’ll be and his face lights up when he sees me there waiting for him.  After giving me his backpack he takes my hand and we proceed to the parking lot while he chats about his day. 

One day I arrived late and had to go through the carpool line.  By the time my car entered the parking lot he’d been waiting for a while.  I was able to  see him sitting on the school bench.  My heart sank when I saw the worry and anxiousness on his face as he expectantly looked in the other direction for me.  He’s only in first grade and this was the first time I hadn’t been there at dismissal.  I could see he was getting scared.  As the line moved and I got closer I tried to get his attention to let him know that I was indeed there, but his gaze was set in the other direction.  If he’d only looked around he’d have seen me.  Instead he focused only on his expectations and caused himself unnecessary worry and grief.  By the time I finally made it to the pick-up zone he was one of the last children left.  He was both relieved and upset when he saw me. 

This situation caused grief for me, too, when I couldn’t get his attention.  I wanted to relieve him by letting him know I was there, but he wouldn’t look my way.  I could have assured him of my presence if he’d considered finding me in unexpected places. 

We often make the same mistake when we seek the Lord.  We become so set in our own expectations of how He will reveal himself to us that we fail to look around and recognize His presence in other ways.  The ancient Hebrew people did the same thing.  For generations they’d been foretold of a King who would come to save them and make them the greatest nation of all.  They envisioned a majestic king who would be impressive by the world’s standards.  Instead, they received a King who was majestic by their Lord’s standards and they failed to recognize him.  It is hard for us to understand how this could have happened.  He walked among them, taught them, touched them, and healed them, but their gaze was set in another direction based on their own expecations. 

Jesus must have felt great frustration with the Hebrew people.  Like me in the carpool line that day, He surely wanted to yell, “Hey, you!  I’m here for you!  You don’t have to be worried or anxious anymore because I’m here!”  But he could not get their attention.  Sadly, there are many times Christ still experiences these frustrations.  We, too, become so set in our expectations of how He will reveal Himself to us that we fail to notice His presence in our lives when He comes in unexpected ways.  Like my son, we spend unnecessary time in worry and grief waiting for him to appear when He’s right there among us.  We just have to seek Him without self-imposed limitations so we can truly seek Him with all of our heart. 

Precious Lord, Help me not to mistakenly turn my gaze away from You.  Help me to be open to all possibilities and to recognize You in whatever ways You are present in my life.  Amen.