“…nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21).

Yesterday I was blind twice. Well, not literally. I just didn’t see what was right in front of me.

One time I was calling for our dog Chloe to come in. She usually does the circuit of our big back yard several times while she’s out or else snoops under the many shrubs along our fence. But I didn’t see her anywhere. I kept calling. Still nothing. Finally, I looked down, right at my feet as I stood by the gate in the black wrought-iron fence separating our carport from the back yard. And there she was! She had been there the whole time, but I didn’t see her because she wasn’t where I expected her to be. That, and she’s a little black dog, so when she stood behind the bars of that black fence, she was camouflaged.

The other time I couldn’t see yesterday I was looking for the “wand” or “straw” from a small can of WD40 I was using to lubricate the wheel levers on my mower. I had the can in my hand, with the wand attached, while I got the machine out of our shed. I wasn’t watching what I was doing (typical), and the wand popped off as it brushed against the handle of the mower. I looked everywhere in the grass for the little red plastic piece, but couldn’t see it. I finally gave up and went on with my mowing. After I finished, I was sweeping the patio and looked down. There was the wand, plain as day. Once again, I didn’t expect to find it on the patio, so even though it was there the whole time, I didn’t see it.

How often do we look at the world and say we can’t find God at work because we’re looking only the places we expect to see him? We have fixed notions of how he acts, the people among whom he will be found, the situations where he shows up. So we look for him in the dogmas of the Church, but not in the theories of science. We expect he will be blessing Christians of a certain stripe, but not believers we don’t agree with, much less our neighbors who follow another faith or none at all. We even tend to see evidence of his presence primarily when we or our loved ones are “blessed” and not when we are going through tough times.

I didn’t see my dog or my tool because I focused my gaze on and limited my search to only the familiar and expected places. I hope I’m more imaginative and perceptive as I look at the world for the signs of God’s love and presence.

© 2012 Tom Cheatham. All rights reserved.