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The cuddly plush animals called out to me with their “buy me” expressions. I lingered a little too long and my distraction came at a price. Crouched down in the middle of the toy aisle at the Buttrey Food and Drug store, I was completely unaware when my dad walked out of sight. Panicked, I raced to the end of the aisle. He wasn’t there. I ran to the front of the store. He wasn’t there either.
“Daddy?!” I yelled. No answer.
“Richard?!” I hollered, figuring my dad might not be the only dad in the store. Again, no answer.
Tears began welling up in my eyes as my heart pounded out of my chest. Panic set in. I found my way to the customer service counter and remember explaining that I wasn’t sure, but I thought my dad had left me. The kind attendant attempted to reassure me that he couldn’t be too far, and asked me for my father’s name.
“Richard,” I replied. Then, over the loudspeaker: “Would Richard please come to the customer service counter? Your daughter is looking for you.”
It didn’t take long before my daddy was there with welcoming arms. He hadn’t left me. I just didn’t stick with him!
Fast-forward some thirty years later, and I’ve been on the other end of this same scenario with my own children. I’m in the middle of the store, I’m on a mission, but there are a million things to distract my kids from staying close. Sometimes I’ll turn the corner knowing full well they missed the cue. I keep a close eye and wait patiently to see how long it takes for them to come seeking after me.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…
Sooner or later, they get that sudden look of panic, yell “Mom!” and come running down the aisle to find me.
“Eye candy” gets us in trouble every time. We lose focus and take our eye off our Father. It’s easy to do, isn’t it? How quickly we become lost when we shift our focus to personal wants and desires instead of the Lord.
But God tells us we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart! Whether we just cry out His name, run around the corner, or find the customer service booth and have Him paged because we are so utterly lost we don’t know where to start in the midst of our panic (we’re talkin’ serious intercessory prayer!) …we will find Him!
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?
There’s one more wonderful parallel I see at play in this. When I “lost” my dad, and my boys “lost” me, we did two things before we could be found.
One, we left what had distracted us; and two, we RAN! We ran with one goal – FIND DAD/MOM! When I realized I was no longer in the presence of my father, that stuffed animal was history. Suddenly it paled in comparison to being in his loving and secure arms.
As I ponder what it means to seek the Lord with all my heart, I realize two things must happen:
1) I have to flee temptations, distractions, selfish desires, and
I know I will find Him. He promises that.
QUESTION: What distraction is causing separation between you and God today?
CHALLENGE: Write down what distracts you and put it in a place where you can see it. Try to avoid that distraction this week.