So, we’re on safari and we really want to see a lion. Our senses are so trained on trying to see a lion that the slightest movement in the grass causes a leap of excitement and many false alarms. Most amusingly to my family the ‘lion’ I saw that was in fact a monkey – a mistake I made not once, but twice! In my defence it was loping through long grass….
Our guide too, desperately wanted us to see a lion. He made sure we were up super early, on the first ferry across the Nile and into the park, where he proceeded to followed every hint of news he could get hold of and to draw on every bit of experience he had.
2 weeks previously he had done the same thing with a group and they had seen 14 lions!
We saw – wait for it…..
….a monkey that reminded me of a lion – twice!
We sought out those lions with all the resources we had, but they were not to be found – well not by us.
Happily, there is a Lion that may always be found by those who seek him. But do we seek him with anything close to the levels of perseverance, eagerness or focus we displayed on safari?
My answer would have to be – no.
Why? Maybe because, unlike our once in a lifetime safari experience, we can always do it tomorrow, we’ve done it before after all.
How quickly the amazing becomes just another normal.
Unlike the illusive big cats, elephants we did see – a plenty.
Harder to hide of course!
And how quickly did a heart stopping, emotion swelling, wonder inducing sight turn into ‘and there’s another elephant….’
Thankfully seeking God’s face is neither a ‘luck of the draw’ lion hunt nor a spectacle that loses its intensity as it loses its novelty.
However amazing it was to be observing God’s amazing creation in the wild – we were just that – observing.
As we seek God’s face, we are doing so in the context of a growing relationship. And in an ever-deepening relationship familiarity should not breed contempt, but depth of love and knowing, appreciating, feasting on and trusting.
And our God is more beautiful than an eternity of gazing can fathom – as his creation (even now in bondage) hints at.
Our hearts sang to see a family of elephants wallowing in the mud – of course they did. It was good. Elephants being so completely elephanty – well it’s so right. They are fulfilling the purpose for which God created them and in doing so pointing us to their maker.
To see a giraffe cantering across the Savannah – well it takes your breath away.
Giraffes being giraffy resonate deeply with us. It is good. They declare to us the wonder of the one who made them so well.
And yet how dull our hearts are when it comes to seeking the elephant maker’s face, to desiring the giraffe designer.
Dear Father, elephant maker, giraffe designer, thank you for those never seen, but eagerly looked for lions! They were just as much teachers pointing me to you as the elephants and giraffes which were so delighted in. Please preserve in me a sense of that urgency and keenness – and that dissatisfaction of what was unseen, unfinished – and so keep me seeking your face. Please keep me devoted to my quiet times with you – like those morning game drives which ditched morning comforts for far superior treasures. In Jesus – the Lion of Judah’s wonderful, precious name, Amen.