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May 11, 2021

Day 5, Chapter 5: The Search

I have many great memories of times with the three ladies in my life: Ceci, my wife; my older daughter, Sarah; and Hannah, my younger. The pleasure of their company has always been special to me.

Of the thousands of memorable days I’ve spent with Ceci, one exciting excursion on a beautiful Saturday in the spring of ‘77 stands out. We had gone to picturesque White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas, where we enjoyed a wonderful picnic. Ceci cooked some of her great fried chicken and prepared potato salad for the occasion. After eating, we sat on a blanket not far from the lake - the setting was absolutely perfect - and enjoyed some pleasant conversation. She had brought along her guitar, and we enjoyed singing a few worship songs; the presence of Holy Spirit was sweet. In this beautiful setting, on this beautiful day, totally mesmerized by this beautiful lady, I asked her to marry me. Finding me irresistible, she said yes.

Of the memories made with Sarah, her wedding is certainly one of the preeminent. I recall the pride and satisfaction I felt when she and I danced at her reception. Actually, as you might have guessed from reading yesterday’s post, shifting my weight from one foot to the other while holding her hand and shoulder was about as creative as the dancing got. But that didn’t matter. The important part was looking into her eyes, telling her how beautiful she was and how proud her mother and I were. I spent a fortune that day. “Thank you, Daddy,” was all the return I needed.

In regards to Hannah, I love to recall the camping trip she and I embarked on several years ago. We found a beautiful spot on a stream in Colorado and spent the weekend enjoying nature and nature’s God. As we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park one morning, a park with views that rival anything in the world, we were also listening to beautiful worship songs she and I love. I’ll never forget the tears that flowed down Hannah’s cheeks at one point as she marveled at God’s majesty and reveled in His love. Happy tears. Peaceful tears. “I’m in love with God and He’s in love with me” tears.

What was it that made those days so memorable for me? With Ceci, was it

a lake, a guitar, a blanket, and some good food? Of course not; those were simply adornments that created helpful ambiance. With Sarah, was it the uniqueness and joy of a celebrative wedding atmosphere? Not really. I’ve been to many weddings that hold no such memories for me. With Hannah was it the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Rockies? As amazing as they are, and as much as they “garnished” the day, it wasn’t the mountains.

It was the company.

Sparkling eyes, smiles, embraces, laughter, happy tears, and hearts I connected with at a deep level - these made the memories special. It was the lady, not the lake; the girl I was dancing with, not the dance; the passenger, not the drive. Whom you’re with matters most in life.

I’ve made some great memories with God, just as I have with my three ladies. He and I have laughed and cried together; and yes, we’ve danced a time or two. We have sat, walked, ridden, and bicycled in each other’s company. I’ve crawled up in His lap and napped, sang Him songs, and watched a few movies with Him. He is more than a “being” to me. He’s a companion. Not making His acquaintance would have been life’s greatest injustice. Does He feel the same way about us? Of course, He does.

God loves being with us. Consider the following invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20 KJV). The Almighty, the Creator, the Everlasting God of heaven and earth requests the pleasure of your company tonight for dinner.

What a thought!

Do you, like me, find it interesting that He knocks on the door? I suppose God could simply knock it down. Or just walk through it! But that would be an intrusion, and God doesn’t want to intrude into your space; He wants to be invited in. Like anyone, He wants to be celebrated, not tolerated.

The word sup in this verse is not a generic word that refers to eating. This is the word in biblical times for the main evening meal. The Jewish new day began in the evening, at sunset. At this evening meal, the family would gather to discuss the day’s events, and the new day would begin and be planned. Jesus is saying to us in this verse, “Let me into your world. Let’s dine, fellowship, and plan the day.”

We must learn to commune with the Lord as a real person and on a personal level. Hearing and discerning God’s voice is not a gift, but rather a learned art. When you take the time to wait and listen, you learn to allow God into your thinking. His thoughts become yours. In this verse, the Lord said, “If any man hears my voice . . .” The obvious insinuation is that our actions, not His, will determine whether or not we hear from Him. Again, sensitivity is learned and developed. Like the frequencies on a radio, our minds and hearts must tune in.

One of my employees a few years back related the following humorous episode about listening.

While my sister-in-law was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner and planning for various family and church activities, her young daughter continued to talk to her about many different important things in her life, to which her mother would periodically respond, “Uh-huh.” Finally, wanting to do something to make this more of a two-sided conversation, the little girl tugged on her mother’s arm to get her full attention. Once she knew her mother was really listening, she said, “Mom, why don’t you talk for a while now, and I’ll say Uh-huh.”1

I can’t help but wonder how often God is knocking and calling, only to find us so busy we really aren’t listening. He will never treat us this way. You’ll never find Him so busy with others or so distracted running the universe that He feigns attentiveness to you, mumbling “uh-huh” while actually thinking about something else. He has plenty of undistracted time for you, and He wants some in return.

The Scriptures tell us that God is searching for this kind of relationship. From the moment we were separated from Him by Adam’s sin, He began the search. “Where are you?” He called to Adam and Eve as they hid from Him (Genesis 3:9). We’re told that His eyes “move to and fro” throughout the earth looking for those whose hearts are fully His (2 Chronicles 16:9).

One of my favorite Bible stories as a young kid was about a man named Zaccheus. He was a tax collector and had become wealthy, most likely by defrauding people, charging them more than they actually owed. Somehow this man had become enamored with Jesus, so much so that he climbed a tree to get a good look at Him as He passed through his village. Jesus wanted Zaccheus to get more than a look, however; He invited Himself over for dinner! “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5).

Jesus knocked and Zaccheus opened. The visit was obviously impactful. It always is when Jesus comes over for dinner. “Lord, half of my possessions I’ll give to the poor,” he promised before the meeting ended, “and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much” (Luke 19:8).

When challenged as to why He would be the guest of a man who was a “sinner,” Jesus merely referenced His searching heart. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost,” (v. 10, italics mine). He simply has an insatiable desire to eat and fellowship with friends, family, and seekers.

Jesus was on a mission then; He’s on the same mission now. He wants some conversation with you. The next time He knocks, open the door. Make your house one of the regular stops for His searching eyes.

Let no distraction, hesitation, or slumbering soul be found within you. May your heart always remain an open door to Jesus, as you seek to mature in the art of discerning His knock and voice. As His eyes search this world for a surrendered heart with which to commune, may His gaze rest upon you. Welcome Him to sit at the supper table of your soul to dine and dialogue with you.

He would love to receive the pleasure of your company today.

Pray with me:

Father, it’s time we made memories with You. Your thoughts toward us are prized by You. We want to be able to say the same about You. Forgive us for making You an impersonal God, an unloving Father. Adam hid from You, fearing Your heart toward his weaknesses. Yet, You pursued him. And You pursued us, and we thank You!

Now we cast aside the lies that have said You are mean, cruel, judgmental, impossible to please. We accept You as Abba, Papa, and we want to make some memories. We want to walk with You, talk with You, and dream with You.

Today we dream with You of the billion kids-to-be of Yours, our brothers and sisters-to-be. We call them home to Abba. We break off of them the bondages of idolatry, addiction, pride, rebellion, and pain. We free them in the name of Jesus! We release angel armies to gather them in. We declare that the gospel of the kingdom has in it the power of God and that this glorious gospel is about to go forth in tidal waves around the world. Millions will know Your love! They will kiss the Son and find the missing piece of their heart. Lord of the Harvest, send laborers. Release them NOW!

Our decree:

We decree this will not be stopped! Abba is coming for His inheritance!

Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company.

Dutch Sheets, The Pleasure of His Company (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 41-48.

Dutch Sheets, Watchman Prayer (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2000), 47.

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