On Easter morning, my niece was old enough to get into the Easter hype and wander about our small apartment in search of goodies hidden in a basket. My sister prepped her while my brother-in-law found the perfect spot.
"McKenna, count to ten and close your eyes. Then, you can look for your basket."
Stefan took two long strides across our living room and placed the basket on the bottom shelf of the bookcase, in good view of where a two-and-a-half-year-old can easily see.
"...seben, eight, nine, ten. Yay, candy. Oh boy." McKenna opened her eyes, left her seat and went in search of the hidden treasure. Now McKenna, being young and quite small for her size, didn't really understand the fun in the search. So immediately she began to worry. As tears welled up in her eyes, her arms went emphatically up then thrown down to her side and she began to say, "Ohhhh noooo. I can't find it." As she whimpered some more she became more worried. I can't imagine what she was thinking. I suppose she thought that she wouldn't find it, or that it really was lost.
Eventually, my sister calmed her biggest two-year-old fears. "McKenna, I'll help you." Melody pointed to each open space on the book shelf. "Is it here?" "No."
"Is it here?" "No."
"Is it here?"..."Yess!!" McKenna giggled with glee. She was so jubilant, I thought for sure she was going to fall over from the excitement.
She found her basket and was able to consume quite a few peanut butter filled eggs, which she shared with me.
But as I thought about it more, I realize that this parallels with another Easter story. In John 20, after Jesus has been dead for a few days, Mary searches for Jesus in the tomb and finds that he is missing. She begins to worry so much so about where he is that she can't even recognize his voice when he speaks to her outside the tomb.
"'Woman,' he said, 'why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?' Thinking he was the gardener, she said, 'Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.'" John 20:15.
But after a few more questions, she recognizes his voice and is startled to see him alive. Afterward, she runs to find the disciples and cries out, "I have seen the Lord."
We sometimes look for God in the places we are familiar with thinking, "I thought that I put him right here. Where is he? Where could he have gone?" But we don't realize that we left him on the bookshelf. When he calls to us, we cannot recognize his voice because we can't remember where we hid the treasure, that is his Word, in our hearts. We search and search, and worry and worry. But after he calls us for a while longer, pursuing us and calming our fears, we hear him and are amazed to see him in our situation, working in our lives. We rejoice in him.
He is here, working in your situation. He is not far or away. He is with you no matter the situation. It says in Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
I encourage you to access this gift he has for you. If you feel close to him or far away, just ask him to come in a fill you with his peace and presence. Just pray, "Dear Jesus, I know you are here with me. I have searched for you in the wrong places, but I want you to show up and be in my life. I'm taking you off the shelf and inviting you in. Please be with me. Let me feel your presence."
Continue in the Word and search for God in the right place. I can guarantee you will start seeing God in everyday.