By Nick Tucker – Associate Pastor – Youth and Service Experiences
An English illustrator, Martin Handford, created a series of children’s puzzle books which we all know and love called “Where’s Waldo?” These books contained pages of detailed illustrations of people doing all kinds of things in a specific location. The gimmick in these puzzles is to find Waldo among the chaos of everyone around him. Waldo looks very specific: round glasses, red and white striped sweater, blue jeans, beanie; you can probably picture him right now as you are reading this!
I find these puzzles to be so fascinating. We can spend so much time looking for Waldo in the crowds, and once we find him, it takes us only a second to locate where he is! Once we know where Waldo is in that illustration, we can look away from it for a while, come back, and find him much quicker because we have seen him before in that illustration. These puzzles, which are seemingly so ordinary and mundane, are truly something that is fun to look at and search through! It is fun to look through the chaos of the illustration and finally find Waldo. (Yes, you can find Waldo in the picture for this blog).
I would dare to say the same with God.
It is fun to look at the seemingly ordinary and mundane spaces of life and find God there. Just like the “Where’s Waldo?” puzzles, we can look forever for Waldo until we finally find him. The same can be true with God! We look forever in the mundane and ordinary and it can take forever to find God. In the “Where’s Waldo?” puzzles, once you find Waldo, you see him, and it is really easy to find him in that picture again. With God, once we find Him in the mundane and ordinary space, it is easy to find Him in that same space again.
I think I can make a case that God loves it when we find Him in the mundane and ordinary spaces of life. I think there is something to be said about God and His character, that we can even find God in the mundane and ordinary spaces of life. Something so simple and basic to us, yet here we find our extraordinary, omnipotent, omnipresent God. Wow!
A perfect example of someone who found God in the mundane and ordinary is Jacob. In Genesis 35 we find Jacob being told by God to “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” Check out what Jacob says in verse 3, “Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” Wherever Jacob has gone, includes the mundane and ordinary. Jacob recognizes that God is with him in the mundane places.
Can you find God in what is seemingly mundane and ordinary? Where Jacob found God in that mundane and ordinary place, he built an altar. Think about this. Jacob built an altar to worship God in a place that is literally the middle of nowhere. It would be like building an altar in Bakersfield! Just kidding, but you get the point.
I want to challenge you to think about what the world would look like if we built altars everywhere. What if the earth was littered with altars in places like your work, the supermarket, the park, the street you live on? What if we could look at something so ordinary and find God quickly. What if finding God in the ordinary was like finding Waldo after we have already found him? It can be challenging at first, but if we are up for the challenge, and look hard enough, He becomes so easily identified.
Just as the mere mention of “Where’s Waldo?” triggers an image in your head of what Waldo looks like and the chaos we find him in, could the phrase, “Where’s God?” trigger a similar image? Could the mere thought of seeking God give you the image of what God looks like in ordinary places? This image for me is through sports! It is through sports that I very clearly see God. The talents that He gives people and the place where people come together, and rally is truly magnificent. A field, or a court, or a course is the altar. A soccer field was the altar for me to worship God in an ordinary place. Where is your altar?
Jeremiah 29:13 says this, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Seek God with all your heart. Seek Him in the mundane and ordinary and when you find Him, build an altar there so you can find Him there again.