Updated: Jun 15, 2022
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8 NASB)
I like to drive around. As I’m driving, I see people everywhere. On 166th Ave, two girls are pushing bicycles up the hill. A tall person all in black with hood and mask is striding down the hill. On 85th, a person with straggly hair and beard is driving a motorized wheelchair. I don’t know their stories.
On 520 east to Seattle, a sleek, sporty, black car roars past me. On I-405 south, the silver sedan in front of me is going about ten miles per hour slower than everyone else, and traffic is flowing like a brook around a rock. I don’t know their stories.
Near home, there’s a grandpa recently moved from India, wearing what looks like a maxi dress, holding a toddler in his arms, strolling around his front yard. A teenager buzzes by in a muscle car. I don’t know their stories.
That’s a far cry from feeling warmth or love for these people. Or pity, or envy, or rage. I’m just ignorant. But maybe it’s a starting point—particularly when coupled with the thought that God knows their stories, and I can attach myself to His “higher thoughts” and “higher ways” when I deal with people in my ignorance.
I keep telling Pastor Mark that his preaching is “brilliant” these days, this past year. From his preaching, I get to know something of his story and God’s story, and I’m grateful. I love to hear stories of people and stories of God. Then my ignorance is just a little bit less.
I really love the new “conversation table” during church service. The stories of each one of us are powerful. Pastor Mark knows this and happily shares the limelight. I REALLY loved hearing from kids and adults in the May 9th Sunday service.
Lila makes cartoons! She thanked God for a new and needed friend. Oh how I relate to that!
Keeton gardens! He feels a “tingling from God” when Peder or Tim speak. I too feel tinglings from God when the people of God tell their stories. Reed builds! God provided a needed bit of wisdom through Reed’s patient reading of the entire rented house manual: beware of scorpions in shoes. Bits of wisdom have their moment. And as Pastor Tim said, the whole book of the Bible is good to read. Even the little, obscure bits shine as wisdom to guide us at the right moment.
Dick builds! Dick shared his story, his struggle, his surrender. And I am stronger, better-equipped, because of his story. “Slow to speak, quick to listen” is in my mind.
Later Sunday evening, I was sitting in my recliner, feet up, resting after a very packed and story-filled day. At 7:15pm, I remembered that there was an online meeting with Pastor Mark at 7:30pm. Should I join? It would be easier to just keep sitting in my chair.
Well, I thought, my brilliant pastor and some of my brilliant brothers and sisters might be there sharing their stories. So I got up, and once on my feet, felt full of energy and anticipation. Maybe we could talk more about Mark’s provocative question for the week, “Seek—what is it in my life bringing about death?” It was a blessing and a great opportunity that we don’t always have with our pastors. (Editor’s Note: “Sunday in Review” happens every week at 7:30pm!)
In the 167 these days, actually in all 168 hours in a week, I’m seeking the stories of God and people. Even with members of my own family, I’m largely ignorant of their thoughts and feelings. And I sure don’t know much about God. And all these stories are growing day by day! My ignorance is thereby growing too! So I live with ignorance, and keep seeking stories and understanding. And as I seek, I sometimes find a place even for me, in the stories of people and God.