I had a dream. One of those dreams that was so insightful that I willed myself to try to drop rocks in the waters of my haze to remember something concrete for when I awoke. As I held the hard porcelain mug of strong black coffee the next morning, and blinked the fuzziness from my vision, I tried to pull up any tangible memory of what I had dreamt the night before. Just one smooth stone of thought emerged, just one line from a poem by J.R.R Tolkien from The Lord or The RIngs: “Not all who wander are lost.”

The words swam through my head all that day and into the next night. Tossing and turning as I pondered an unanswered question, I finally felt compelled to get out of bed at 4:30 the next morning, to look up the verse that Paul spoke on “Mar’s Hill” (I’m a pastor’s wife, but I had to google where this was in the Bible, because I HAD NO CLUE.)

Here is a portion of what I read from Acts 17, where Paul is speaking to the people of Athens, who had many gods, and many, many altars to gods in their cities:
“Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands (…) because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. (…) God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 18:22-28

I know God. I know the touch of His presence. And yet, reading this I felt struck. How often do I keep him in the confines of the temples built by hands? How often do I not seek, or reach, or find him, but settle for the lukewarm knowledge that he is just there. I think God is challenging me to wander, to search, and pray, to reach with flexed fingers, and kneel on tired knees. Because if this God I believe in, and know, is all that I imagine him to be, then I want to spend my days searching for more of who He is, so that I can figure out who I am, in Him. Amen? Amen.

Did I mention that right before writing this I found a sign above my writing desk (I’m at an AirBnB in Chicago) it said: Never Stop Exploring.

TO AN UNKNOWN GOD
Wandering, waiting,
Listening, slowing,
“Be still and know,”
But knowledge is fading.

Altars and idols,
Something to satisfy,
Anything that fills,
Our hungering belly.

Flesh that itches,
Wandering minds,
Nothing that fixes,
Only confines.

But God in flesh,
Without an agenda,
Mercy unleashed,
Perfect surrender.

Dwelling in me,
Not God unknown,
Compelled to speak,
of THE GOD that I KNOW.
by Lindsay Hausch

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