“A woman is born. A lifetime later, she dies. And between those two moments, that woman shops.”
Not this woman, though. At least not in stores, though I can easily fill an online cart at Amazon.ca. Thankfully, the Preacher does most of our household shopping. He enjoys visiting in the aisles with people he seldom sees otherwise.
I’m unceasingly grateful for that. Stores too often intimidate me. I enjoy meeting friends too, but aisle visits distract me from the focus I need just to get through the experience. I regularly leave frustrated, with far too much in my cart – or nothing at all.
I find Christmas shopping especially daunting. One day years ago, I filled my cart with gifts, started for the checkout, then panicked and ran from the store instead.
In a sense, the quote I began with is true of us all. From birth, our lives are a colossal, epic shopping trip. We seek for the best; for what matters most to us – provision, security, relationship, possessions, purpose and health. As our seasons transition, we seek for meaning, for truth, for light and hope and help. For permanence. We search for that elusive something to fill what I call the God-gap, because God designed it. And only he can fill it with what remains solid and true through all our seasons.
I’ve followed Jesus Christ for a lifetime; spent decades in ministry with my husband. I lead others to know and understand more about Jesus through my books and articles. But over the years I’ve had several long periods of ho-hum, passionless faith; seasons of merely meeting the Christian status-quo. Church on Sunday. A Bible study during the week. Devotional reading each day.
How normal it becomes to know many things about God without knowing God; to fill our days with good, even great things, while setting aside the best thing.
We become adept at hiding our cavernous need for something deeper. We cover it with busy-ness. Responsibilities to work, family and community. Activities and possessions. But except for God, all the things we shop and search for all our lives will fade, wither and end, including our most intimate human relationships.
I’m as likely as anyone else to ignore the call to a deeper faith when life is busy and good and the Christian status quo, easily reachable. In the loneliness I’ve experienced since the grandbeans moved from our village, I’ve realized my own soul-hunger for deeper relationship with God. For friendship with Jesus Christ that makes me crave to love like him; to want more of him and less of me.
In the nativity story, sages sought a great King, and found the baby Jesus. When ordinary people seek him today, we find a great Saviour. Best of all, we discover that when we pull up alongside God, he pulls up alongside us.
Will you join me in the big seek for the best thing? No shopping required, either in person or online. He’s right there waiting. And the result of that search can last for eternity.
Pastor John Piper explains more about what it means to truly seek God in this short article: