“Mom,” Jake pressed. “Can we go, now?”
I didn’t look up from my work, but replied, “Jake, we’ll go as soon as I finish making these last few signs.”
I was preparing for Tuesday’s lessons at Matopo Primary School. Each morning, I accompanied our short-term team from Sunset Presbyterian Church to one of the ECD (early childhood development) classrooms and we would lead the children through a variety of songs and activities. Our purpose was to introduce and model to the teachers how they could incorporate a number of hands-on learning tasks into their instructional day.
I worked as quickly and efficiently as I could to fulfill my promise to Jake and Caleb that we would go for a walk that afternoon.
Jake returned a little later and prompted again, “Mom, are you ready yet?”
“Almost, Jake,” I replied. However, I still hadn’t taken time to look up from my work to see my expectant son.
Finally, I was finished. I cleaned up my workspace and called out, “Jake, I’m ready!”
Jake leaped onto the Morning Star porch and the second I saw my son, my face fell.
He stood before me in his swimming costume (swimming suit), sandals, and had a towel draped over his shoulders.
He proclaimed, “Okay, Mom! Let’s go to the dam!”
Caleb popped up onto the porch next. He, too, was all decked out for swimming.
There was a problem though. What Jake and Caleb did not know was that the dam they planned to visit was all dried up. There wasn’t even a drop of water in a space that reached about half as long as an American football field. Somehow, Jake and Caleb had failed to hear that the dam was dry.
I carefully and sensitively explained to the boys that the dam had no water.
“What happened?” Jake and Caleb both demanded.
“The water either evaporated or was used for the farm,” I shared. “The sun is very powerful, Guys. Even though there was a lot of water there in April – when we were here last, it’s all gone now. There won’t be any new water until the rains come.”
Jake and Caleb were not convinced.
They remembered all the fun they had shared together in the dam in April.
“Let’s go see!” Jake announced.
“Yeah,” Caleb agreed. “Let’s go see if the water is really gone.”
So, the dam adventurers set off by foot. Through the grass, over the rocks, up the hill we traipsed under the warm, Zimbabwean sun. When we reached the dam, Caleb and Jake viewed the dry dam with incredulous eyes.
“Wow!” Caleb exhaled.
“Where did all the water go?” Jake asked again.
Once again, I explained the power of the sun’s rays and its effect upon evaporation. We sat there for a bit, took a photo, and then Jake suggested, “Well, then, let’s go find the other dam.”
For it was true, there were two other dams nearby. Caleb was keen to walk to another dam too. It was hot. Splashing and playing in the water sounded like a refreshing and reinvigorating proposal.
So, off the dam wayfarers trekked! As we passed through Morning Star, Micah decided to join in our search. We reached the second dam and this time we did find some water. However, the problem with this dam water was that the majority of it was filled with plant life. There wasn’t much space to splash and play.
“What shall we do, Mom?” Jake asked with a disappointed voice.
“There is one more dam, Jake,” I answered. “However, there isn’t much water there. You could splash and play. However, there isn’t enough water to swim.”
“Let’s go!” Caleb and Jake responded in chorus.
And so it was agreed. We would try once more.
For a third time, the dam searchers made their way through the tall grass, across the dirt road, over the Matopos rocks, and up the rocky expanse until we reached the dam cut into the rocky hillside.
True to my word, we found just enough water for the boys to play in, but deep not enough to swim.
The boys bounced into the water to cool their legs and feet. We had walked and walked and walked. We were tired. Micah and I sat down upon the rocks to watch Caleb and Jake play. Our dam water search had finally paid off. Caleb and Jake splashed in the water with delight.
Reflecting back upon that set of afternoon jaunts, I thought about these words:
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. New International Version, Deuteronomy 4:29
I don’t know about you, but sometimes in my life, I’ve needed to press on in my pursuit for my God, just like Caleb, Jake, Micah, and I did for dam water one sunny and hot afternoon in Zimbabwe.
Jake and Caleb expected to find water. Even though I shared that the first dam was dry, they needed to see it for themselves. And once my words were proven true, the boys pushed on with eager determination until their quest for water was fulfilled.
Jake and Caleb would not be thwarted. It meant they would have to walk over and through a variety of physical obstacles under the heat of the African sun. From start to finish, it took us over an hour to finally reach a spot where water could be found. And when we did find it, the water brought relief and replenishment.
I have searched my God out for so many different things…
Lots and lots of answers…
As with our persistent search for dam water, my various pursuits for my God have consistently been rewarded; perhaps not in an hour’s time. Perhaps not in a month’s time or not even in a year’s time. Yet, He has answered according to His time. Through the consistent and prayerful seeking of my God for matters close to my heart, I have found Him. My God has generously revealed His answers, His purpose and Himself.
Sometimes, He has revealed a place that is as dry as the dam at Morning Star. It is not His place for me.
Other times, I have reached a spot where limited opportunities await, and still the place is not for me.
And there have been times, when He has led me to a place of renewal. Here is a place to kick off my sandals and allow the coolness of his refreshing Spirit to wash over me and provide the rest, the joy, and the answers I need. He has brought me to a place where I experience my God in His fullness, in His mercy, in His grace, and in His love.
I believe that my God desires such a pursuit. Ultimately, my God wants to be found.Yet, as a walk was required for the boys and me to find cool water, the same is true with my God. A deliberate walk over and through various obstacles in search of my God leads to an ultimate fulfillment. My God desires to pour out His empowering grace and refreshment into my life and He desires to do the same for us all.
“So I say to you, 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 he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.'” New International Version, Luke 11: 9-10.
Last week, Jake and Caleb would not be vanquished in their pursuit of some water fun.
May we be just as determined in our search for our God – who desires to be found in our walk towards Him.