One evening Gary and I took a walk around the college campus near our home. As we ventured out around the athletic fields, Gary suddenly stopped and gestured and said, “Look! There are deer out in the field.”
My eyes followed his pointing finger and sure enough, way far, far away in the distance, I could see a few specks that were, most definitely, deer. I smiled to myself because it’s the same everywhere we go. Gary can spot deer while whizzing down the highway before I even have time to turn my head. They aren’t even on my radar, but he possesses the ability to find them.
And do you know why? Because he is looking for them. I spot other things. Antique shops. Mexican restaurants. Misspelled signs. It’s the same for all of us … we find what we are looking for.
I think the same applies to our walk with the Lord. If we are looking for evidence of His presence and His power, we will find it, even in the midst of very hard and dark seasons of life. Likewise, if we are trying to prove that He doesn’t care or He isn’t real, we will quickly interpret evidence to try to prove that, as well.
I’ll make a confession here. I’ve always secretly wanted to be an FBI profiler. One of those sharp, analytical, slightly intimidating figures who compiles the evidence to catch “bad guys” and make the world a safer place. I’m always fascinated by the evidence boards you see in movies, where they tack up pictures and charts and all manner of exhibits, then step back to see the big picture and how all the pieces fit together. All of the evidence eventually points them in the direction of one specific person.
I’d say it is crucial to compile your own evidence board. We don’t need to figure out who the bad guy is … it’s the devil, the enemy of our souls, who is here to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). But what about an evidence board of all the ways the Lord has shown up and cared for us, evidence of His strength, His peace, His joy, His favor, His perfect timing, His provision, His rescue? Remember, you find what you are looking for, and if you are truly looking for it, the evidence will point you in the direction of One Specific Person.
This past year has been a challenging one for our family on several levels. I identify with the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8 when he says “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair.” Being hard pressed and perplexed is part of the human state of living on a fallen earth. But how do we make sure we are not crushed, not in despair?
Colossians 3:1-2 gives us some clues: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
According to the Strong’s Concordance, “setting our hearts” means we are craving something, aiming for something, which causes us to seek after it. What do I do when I have a craving for chocolate? I go looking for it in the cupboard or the refrigerator or any nook and cranny where some might be hidden. This phrase also means “to follow up the traces of divine majesty and power.” What a beautiful phrase! “Traces of divine …” It’s our job to follow the traces of the divine and see where they lead.
As we’ve dealt with a chronically ill child for more than a year, God’s faithfulness has been evident over and over again. He knew what was coming and urged me to leave my job the previous spring because He knew I would need to be home caring for her. Long days unfolded with just me and Hannah, conversations I wouldn’t trade for the world, and we are closer than ever. Doctors and nurses along the way who helped us navigate the unknown in our search for answers. And somehow, in the midst of stacks of medical bills and one income, we managed to stay afloat and pay each bill as it was due.
Traces of the divine.
My evidence board is full, and it points to One Specific Person. You find what you are looking for, so start looking for Him.