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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

A Time to Search

I couldn’t find my passport. I had it to fill out some travel papers within two days. How could it just disappear? I began my methodical search, reversing where I had been, what papers and files I had used. Nothing. Then, I became frantic, looking under, in between, searching where I didn’t think it could be but wanted to make sure. Still nothing. Now fear set in with all its haunting what-ifs. What if I couldn’t find it? What if I couldn’t replace it in time for my international trip in a month? That’s when I took one more look around, spied the printer, lifted the lid and there it was, right where I left it after scanning it.

A time to search isn’t a calm, worry-free time. Something is missing. Something necessary. Something important. Something valuable. Life is incomplete without this missing piece. A time to search reorders priorities and focus. Sometimes for good. Other times not so much. It depends on what is missing and who assessed its value. A search becomes a time warp of sorts when everything else stops and the only thing that matters is finding what is lost.

Some things are worth life-stopping searches. Jesus told us to search for His

kingdom priorities first. Solomon would call it the essence of wisdom. I used to begin my college teaching semesters with the verse. “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7) In other words, don’t just be smart and collect knowledge and get good grades. Search for how to use knowledge. Figure out how it applies to life.

A time to search is not for the faint of heart. It takes focus, good memory, and a problem-solving strategy to search smart. Perhaps that is why we wade in Bible study rather than dive in. To search for God’s wisdom takes time and persistence.

Jesus promised that if we seek, we will find. But he never promised that you always get the specific thing you look for. I have come to understand that a time to search fine tunes your investigative process. It changes your focus. Shares new perspective. A God-directed search revises your questions and where you look for answers. A God-directed search is a journey to a treasure God wants you to have.

Too many times we think of ourselves as the searcher looking for all the lost things of our lives: extra time, new purpose, energy, peace. Another way of approaching this verse is to remember that before God is our Rescuer, he is our Searcher. He is always searching for those who have lost their way, their stability, their perspective. The parables of the lost coin, lost sheep, and lost son are all pictures of God’s searching heart. No one or no thing is too lost to be found, according to God.

God is not a tease who takes us on dizzying, disorienting searches that waste our time and energy. He is purposeful, direct, and specific. He will give next step confirmation if we put away our ineffective searching. He will use our longings but often redirect and fine tune them so that we will find what he generously wants to give.

God directs our search with the single-focus of the woman who lost a coin, the compassion of a shepherd for a lost sheep, and the unconditional love for a prodigal. I am learning that if my search is frantic, depleting, and discouraging I have not searched with the heart of God. I must spend time listening to His heart, search for what he wants me to find, and receive His direction about where to look for it.

His treasure waits.

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