A little over a month ago I was driving to pick up my daughter from the babysitter. I was running a little bit early and knew that the sitter wouldn’t be at her house because she was picking up her children from school. I was at a stop light trying to figure out what I should do to pass the few minutes of time when it hit me…Starbucks! I whipped out my phone to find the closest purveyor of caffeine. I found one on the little map and began the short journey.
At least, on the map it seemed short.
I drove by the location it was supposed to be and didn’t see it. I circled around, and again didn’t see it. I tried again, and no luck.
Where is this Starbucks?!?!?
I was getting a little frustrated (I know, it is hard to believe) at this point because it wasn’t the easiest road to find a place to turn around and get back on the road easily. I was passing by for my last try and I was sitting at the stop light, stewing a bit. I happened to look over at the oncoming traffic (noticing that not one of them had coffee) when I observed a sudden stop by a truck beside me. No big deal, someone just made a quick stop, the driver of the truck saw it and stopped in plenty of time.
The car behind him did not.
There was a small sedan cruising along at a nice clip that somehow missed the stopping of the truck and at the last moment saw that traffic had stop and swerved to miss the truck. Did I mention I was right beside the truck? I look up and see this car coming in my direction, there is no time to do much of anything, except continue to look at the rapidly approaching car.
Somehow, the speeding car catches the back bumper of the truck. The truck has minor damage, somehow the car looks like it ran into a wall, and the truck wasn’t even a Chevy (like a rock and all, you know.) Random scraps spray into the air and pelt my little, old car. I am unscathed, shaken a bit, but all was well.
However, I didn’t really care about Starbucks anymore.
I have coffee at home, after all.
There are a lot of things that go on in life, and for me, I always want to look for the next big thing that God wants to do. I want to be a part of it, I want to be involved, and if I am honest…I want to be the guy that God chooses to lead it. So I search with hunger and a near one track mind to see where it is and what it is. Meanwhile, people are having accidents all around me and their lives are being filled with various trials and struggles. Their lives are slamming into each other and there are pieces of their life that spatter my life.
Do I just drive away, thankful that I am unscathed by their tragedy? Their trials? Their “stuff?”
Many times I think Christians (generally speaking) are so worked up about being with other believers, protecting the church, assimilating people into people like us, and searching for “Heaven on earth” that we forget that there is life going on all around us. It isn’t that these things are bad, or shouldn’t be a priority in our life…but do we have the attitude…
“To Hell with you I am looking for Heaven?”
I am not suggesting it is intentional. I am not suggesting we give up looking for God in the ways I listed above. I am just suggesting that we look for ways to care, love, and show grace to others intentionally.
Here is what I think happens when we do…
The search for “Starbucks”, that is, the thing we think we want from God, or the thing we think He should want for us, takes a back seat. The things that matter to God (people, the lost “sheep”, the poor, prisoner, blind, oppressed) become more real to us, and they begin to matter more to us than the search. In that we end up finding the thing we were searching for.
God will reveal His plans to us, and His revealing is not based on how hard we search...but how zealously we truly and actively care about the things that matter to Him. The Pharisee's were very knowledgeable of God's Word, but they had no love or compassion.
I was looking for Starbucks, not a car accident. Are we looking for Heaven and avoiding (intentionally or not) the very people that we are to be loving on and representing Heaven to? As we love the ones we are sent to, especially in the times of their collisions, Heaven reveals itself. God opens our eyes and shows us the very thing we were searching for. We were just searching for it in the wrong place.
Thank You for Your grace.