“From there you will search again for the Lord your God.
And if you search for Him with all your heart and soul,
you will find Him.” Deuteronomy 4:29 (NLT)
This is one of Prince Philip’s favorite scriptures. And you can understand why. We love promises, don’t we? A promise speaks of a brighter future. A promise brings hope. A promise lifts our hearts, and brings light and expectancy to our view of the world. And because we have a God who is a Promise-Keeper, not a promise-breaker, we can be assured that when He makes a promise … yes, He WILL keep it.
And so Prince Philip keeps going back to this promise from Deuteronomy. He speaks often of the promise made there; He keeps reciting it and sometimes, he asks me to talk with him about it again — to share together what it says and what it means in both the spiritual and the practical aspect.
Today, Philip’s passage is on my heart in a special way. The Lord has me pondering this passage as it relates to times like now when life seems to be on hold while my body heals from yet another surgery. What does this passage mean to me when the hours of my day seem to center around IV infusions, the administration of pain medication, and emptying surgical drains? My, my — how spiritual is all that?
Truthfully, the first week after surgery was tough. Not just the pain and messiness that surrounds surgery, but also the loss of the beloved pattern of the way I seek and find the Lord. I love my “God-routine” — each morning begins with a warm bath, feeding Lukey the cat while my coffee or tea brews, settling in my prayer chair with my devotional, Bible and prayer journal, gazing out my front window and then yes, as easily as that, HE SHOWS UP! It’s like He’s been waiting there for me — Jesus, the God of the Universe and the Savior of the World has come to meet with insignificant me — how cool is this great promise of Deuteronomy 4:29?!
And I gotta’ be honest, I don’t like it at all when that pattern, that “God-routine” gets messed up, you know what I mean? For me, the post-surgical drains and drugs audaciously interrupted my sacred pattern! Yes, I know Jesus was still there and God was with me, but oh, how I missed meeting Him in that special way I’m so fondly accustomed to. My days were without the sparkle, without the meaning I’ve come to expect and to adore!
But the sparkle is back and it’s really thanks to Philip’s fave scripture, which reminded me of the promise and how to seek and find my Jesus, so here are several observations from that great little verse and how it unpacked itself in my very practical, very real circumstances of post-surgical healing:
~ “From there you will search again for the Lord your God.” I really like the way the New Living Translation renders this first half of the verse. “From there” begs the question “from where?” Well, for me in these recent days, from that place of post-surgical healing; from that place of missing Him; from that place of knowing that something just wasn’t the same and I didn’t like it. Yet, God knows there will be times and places that we don’t like, but even FROM THERE, we are to search for Him.
~ “You will search again for the Lord your God” — yeh, you betcha! Once you’ve known the closeness, the nearness and the dearness of the Kind Savior Jesus, you are ruined for anything else. Nothing else satisfies and the spiritual hunger rumbled in my soul like a tummy rumbles that hasn’t known food in many days. So I’m thrilled to be back at a place where the drains and drugs can just wait their turn — thank you, Ma’am — and let my time with Jesus return to it’s highest priority. HEY, JESUS, I’M BACK AND I’M SEARCHING FOR YOU!
~ And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him. Here’s the promise that Philip loves — WE WILL FIND HIM! No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it! He will be found by us! Like a parent who plays “hide and seek” with His dear children — not for the sake of NOT being found, but for the sake of BEING found! This is our God — HE WANTS TO BE FOUND BY US! Wowsy-dowsy!!! (And yes, that last comment may be the pain meds talking!)
~ But even though there are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about the promise, there is a contingency which we as humans often — so often — ignore. “…if you search for him with all your heart and soul …” This is where the rubber meets the road. You see, I could have continued to make my drains and drugs a greater priority that seeking Jesus and His nearness each morning. In fact, I remember the day — about a week after the surgery when it was as if I was faced with the choice: going to my prayer chair and opening my prayer journal and begin to write OR staying in my recovery recliner and opening my drug chart to write down the last time my drains were cleaned. Thank God I chose seeking the Lord instead of charting the drains! In that moment, I said “no” to something that wasn’t unimportant but it wasn’t the MOST important. In that moment, seeking God with my heart and my soul was most important and true to His Word and His promise, HE CAME. Like that sweet parent playing “hide and seek” with their beloved child, He drew back the curtain behind which He’d be standing, waiting for me to come look for Him and said with sheer delight, “Here I am! You found me!”
And so, each day since has been a better and better day. Yes, there is still pain and drugs and drains and IV’s and yuk, orange hair (see Feb. 15 post!) — but there is a growing awareness of God in the midst of my healing space, filling it up with His love and kindness.
So thank you, Philip, for letting me “borrow” your favorite verse! And I know my husband well enough to know that He won’t mind one bit if I share it with you today! Whatever circumstances you find yourself in today, seek Jesus with all your heart and soul, and you’ll soon hear Him say to you in sheer delight, “Here I am! You found me!”
With love and blessings,
Cathie+ and Prince Philip
After more than 25 years in parish ministry, Rev. Cathie retired in early 2018 to pursue a quieter life with her husband Philip in the mountains of Central Oregon. Although no longer a leader in congregational life, she continues to follow her calling and passion to minister to those who suffer, especially those with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.