Seeking His Face (a lesson from a flat tire)

Thud whump, thud whump, thud whump….In other words, the sound of afternoon plans being cancelled (or the sound of a flat tire).  Either way, I realize that I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. So, after a call goes out to AAA, I sit and wonder “Why?” Not because I’m frustrated – I’m really not. My plans for the afternoon weren’t urgent, and there are much worse places to be stuck than under a shady tree on a beautiful day in the safe parking lot of my daughter’s school.  But I’m curious about this scenario because for some reason I felt strongly COMPELLED to have lunch with Caroline. Maybe she’s upset or having a bad day, I thought. God is telling me to go. So I greet Caroline, and she’s cool. Her day is going well – no problems, no drama, and no need for mom to save her day.  We had a carefree visit, and off I (intend to) go.

Okay, I muse, then there must be a special reason my tire is flat.

The mechanic from AAA arrives so surprisingly fast that I’m actually disappointed because I haven’t had enough time to figure this out. Then it hits me – maybe he needs Jesus!

I don’t want to hover while he mumbles about what a pain it is to get the spare tire out of an older Odyssey.  So I sit on the curb and open up the Jesus Calling book that I had in the car. I wonder – what does God wants me to say?

Opening the book, I notice the verse on the page reads, “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” (Psalm 105:4)

The word “seek” grabs my attention because I had recently written a post about my dog that used to “seek” me out at school (see “Pursued”).  The Father seeks His children as a shepherd seeks his sheep. Psalm 23 promises that His goodness and mercy pursue us (seek us, follow us) all the days of our lives.

There are many instances in Scripture of the verb “seek” but most of them are written as a Word of command and a Word of promise to the children – to the sheep – to us.

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.  Deuteronomy 4:29

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11 (same as Psalm 105:4!)

…if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

My heart says of You, “Seek His face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Psalm 27:8

Of course, I wasn’t thinking of all these Scriptures as I was sitting on the curb. I’m looking them up now, having safely arrived home with three good tires and one donut.  But while I sat, the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray for the mechanic – to pray that whatever was happening in his life, he would seek the Father and yield to His pursuing love. And hardly before I could say “amen,” the mechanic was finishing his work, instructing me to not drive above 50 MPH, and getting back into his truck.  I thanked him, but that was all I could say.

I trust that God heard my prayer and already has an answer that I’ll never know, but apparently there was nothing else extra-ordinary about my extended visit to school. I had a flat tire because I had a flat tire.

As this entire situation played out, I was thinking about what I could offer. But sometimes God makes me, the slow learner, stop and simply observe. I’m thinking that God wants me to sit with the word “seek” for awhile.

The question struck me – don’t we most often seek God when we’re deflated and desperate?

But the Word, in several places, tells us to seek God’s face. When you love someone, what feature about him or her is most endearing to you? The face.

God pursues us not that we will call on Him when we’re in a bind but that we will seek Him with the same passion. When you study someone’s face, you learn how he expresses himself and what he cares about. Looking deeply into another’s face indicates relationship. This kind of relationship is developed in ordinary moments. Not just desperate moments but daily moments.

When the unexpected and the interruptions come – be they major or minor – the person who has sought God in the ordinary moments will find Him in the extraordinary ones.

In the words of Emily Judson (the wife of Adoniram Judson, America’s first foreign missionary): “The person who would do great things well must practice daily on little ones; and she who would have the assistance of the Almighty in important acts must be daily and hourly accustomed to consult His will in the minor affairs of life.”

I’m going to take some time and focus on seeking God’s face. What does that look like on a daily basis? Perhaps there will be other interruptions and lessons along the way, and things to share with you. I’d love to hear what you’re learning too!

Those who know Your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:10

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Resource:  Quote from Emily Judson in “Disruptions, Delays, Inconveniences”: Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter – May/June 1988. http://elisabethelliot.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html

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