Supermarkets and God

Psalms 69:3

I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
looking for my God.

I currently have kinda a sore throat… I’m trying to relate to this type of agony, where King David’s throat is parched and his eyes fail. Not because he’s so sad for his own circumstance, or because he’s throwing a fit, or crying for himself. But because he’s desperate to find the LORD. It’s like how a child feels when they lose their mother at the grocery store…

Not sure if you’ve seen one before. But they’re wailing, and wandering. And if you see them, it’s like there’s no tomorrow. They are hopelessly walking, aimlessly wandering. Desperately trying to find their mom or dad. I wonder how I feel when I’m not with God? Do I feel that desperation? I think I only feel that urge and fear and desperation of a lost child from it’s mother only when I realize I need something or when I’m in pain.

Let’s think about the scenario of a  child getting lost at the supermarket.

The reason they got lost is probably because the child was too enamored about some toy, and wandered off on it’s own. Not realizing where mommy was going. Or they were distracted by something in an aisle, and stopped walking, instead of continuing to follow mom with the shopping cart.

Reminds me of us and God sometimes. We get distracted. God says, not yet, this is not the one. This relationship is not the one. This job is not the one. But we “ooo” and “ahhh” at the pretty sights and glimmering promises for a happier life once we have the new shiny toy. It falsely promises that we’ll be satisfied. Finally, we realize that this might not be the toy for us, we look up, but we’ve dropped out of the shopping cart procession, and we can’t find God in our lives. We wail and we cry. We start to wonder how did we get ourselves here. We go to the counter, and ask the nice lady to broadcast for us, “Mr. and Ms. Smith, your daughter is at counter 8, please come immediately.”

Another situation, God and us are in the supermarket again, and we’re looking at foods for tonight’s dinner. What drinks and chips and sauces would you like, son? God asks. We mumble something. Starting to lose interest in the dinner party that God is preparing for us, we glance around, bored and uninterested. We try to find something else that better “fits our taste.” “Daddy, I want to see the toys,” you start to say. “Hang on, let’s just finish picking out the cheeses and the bread.” He answers. You start to whine, Dad patiently tries to involve you in the food choosing process. You’re bored and you see that Daddy isn’t looking. Now’s your chance! and you wander off to the nearest toy aisle.

Wow! It’s awesome and amazing! All these Ninja Turtle figurines and Mattel Barbie! Plus all the accessories and houses and cars and … and…

You play for a long long time, but you start losing interest in your new found toys, that aren’t yours to begin with, and they are only materials and possessions. You miss your Dad and that security you had when you were with Him. You try to go back to that cheese and bread aisle, but you can’t seem to find it. You are 3 feet tall and shorter than everyone, you are completely disoriented and have no idea where Dad is.

You start to cry. You’re scared, you’re lost, you’re alone. You have no idea what to do. You become that 4 year old that wails and cries desperately in the supermarket. People are trying to ask you what’s wrong, and what your Daddy looks like. You’re beyond consolation, and you have no way to begin verbalizing. How does a 4 year old describes his Father? He’s the world to them, Dad’s the hero, the protector. The standard for what “man” looks like. (I seriously had no idea how to describe my mom and dad as a kid. They were exactly what a mom and a dad would look like to me… I’ve only ever had one my entire life, and I was too young to understand that there are other mom’s and dad’s, just not mine…)

It reminds me of our walk with Christ. We want things along the way, things that aren’t meant to be ours. We whine, we beg, eventually, we try to get it ourselves. Then we realize that God is preparing us, equipping us. There’s this big banquet that is prepared for us tonight. And God is inviting us to dine with Him. He’s trying to involve us in the process of the preparation as well. But we had other plans and other things to do. We wander, we get lost. We cry and feel desolate. Our throats are parched.

But in the end, Daddy usually knows that we wandered into the toy aisle, and parents can always recognize their child’s crying. You see Daddy or Mommy running quickly over to us, abandoning their shopping carts full of the food they’ve so diligently chosen over the last half an hour. They drop everything, as soon as they hear their child crying, all to run and grab their child from any harm or any scare.

God recognizes our cries, as a Shepherd to His sheep. And He draws near to the brokenhearted and contrite in spirit. He finds us in our misery and in the deep waters.

I remember being lost in the supermarkets and grocery stores a lot as a kid. I remember getting lost in Rome’s Colleseum, Australia’s airport, SFO’s waiting lounge. (I know, I know, I was that kid.) I remember feeling like it was the end of the world. All those emotions, I wanted to scream, I cried nonstop, I was frantic. I wonder if my spirit and my heart is as fast to denote when I’m away from my God, and if my heart feels the same terror and helplessness when I’m away from Him. Do I sense that exact same frantic frenzy and fear as I do when I was 5 and away from my parents?

Alas, just as my parents did, my God somehow always finds me. Whether it be sitting on a stool at the Customer Service counter, or having a lollipop at Register 8, being calmed down by the nice lady. The intercom announcement for my parents to come get me is my prayers, others’ prayers, or prayer from Christ or the Holy Spirit who pray for me when I do not know how to pray or that I need to pray.

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