A Eurasian guy came up to me at the Path of Wisdom on Lantau island, Hong Kong, asking, "Do you know how I may get to the big rock? I remember coming by this way the last time I came and stood on the rock which overlooks the big Buddha. But I can't seem to find that path anymore."
Seriously, I had no idea where this big huge rock was. I didn't even know if it existed. So after looking through the map, I had to disappoint him with my 'no'. He went away after trying again in vain to recall the path that led to his rock. After all, it was 8 years ago that he was there. Maybe the rock was moved by the local authorities because it became unsafe to stand on?
From where I was, the path leading up the hill looked deserted and though I was very curious, wisdom told me not to go up alone though the herd of cows had already made their descent. I did tell the guy maybe he should go to the other side of the mountain and maybe it's there, since the other side leads to Lantau peak, from which, I thought, he would more logically be able to see the Buddha statue. But I guess he didn't because he was certain it wasn't on that side.
After some time, I made my way across a link, onto the other mountain across. Looking back from the opposite side of the Path of Wisdom, I actually saw that huge rock that man was asking me about. It was right on top of the hill and I could roughly make out the path leading to it too. I was filled with excitement and wanted to go tell the guy but I could not find him anywhere. If he had stayed on to search, if he had taken my suggestion to go to the other side of the mountain, he would have found it one way or another. He must have gone away really disappointed.
All of which made me reflect on "SEARCHING".
When we lose something, when we want to find something we long for, to what lengths do we go to search for it? Especially in the journey of faith.
We search, we cannot find, we are disappointed, we feel discouraged. There's still hope.
We search again, we still cannot find, we are more disappointed and more discouraged. Hope is dwindling.
We make one last search, God is still beyond reach. Throw in the towel. Enough. God's love is only given to some, and I'm not one of them.
If we continue searching, try a different path, go on trekking to another side, would we not find what is guaranteed to be there? Tracing through the paths of our memory for clues and signposts. Would we not find Jesus? Would He not find us?
Sometimes, we found Him but for some reason, some fault of ours, we lost Him again... and again. We got lost. We got distracted and lost him. We didn't know how to stay with Him and wandered off. And more often than not, by the time we realise we have gone off far on our own, we find ourselves helpless, hopeless, without a compass and a map. The task of finding our way back is daunting. Where do I put my foot next? In which direction? Where is north?
The good thing about many national parks is that there are park rangers, maps, signposts. I could gather wood, create a smoke signal, do something that helps others find me.
Sometimes when I get lost, feel so far away from God and cannot find my way back to Him, I call out to my Father and tell Him that I really don't know the way home, asking if He would come get me. And He always does. He will somehow open my heart to accept and receive His embrace, His forgiveness and affirmation of His unconditional love. And in that breaking moment, I know I am home again, like the prodigal son in the Gospel parable.
I go to my spiritual director and chat with mentors and spiritual companions. I stumble and fumble and stumble some more in prayer, trying to pray "right". I read books that point the way to God. I go for a jog and breathe in the love of God in nature, which energises me for the next few pages of life.
And yet, even with these, many times, I still cannot find God. Not because He cannot be found but that I did not want to be found, though on the surface, I am doing the seemingly necessary things to find God again. Maybe because there are unpleasant feelings I don't want to feel, the ugliness of my own self that I would rather not confront, the messiness of my life that I just don't feel like looking at.
But then, when I run, I can never be found. I can never live in the loving embrace of God. If I allow God to find me, if I go out in search of Him, I will certainly find Him waiting there. I will certainly find Him with arms wide open, to welcome, love, heal, forgive and shower blessings. He will overturn my life not to leave me in shambles but so that He can reorder and rearrange it beautifully.
What joy that tourist would have experienced if he had finally stood there on that rock, looking down at the valleys, across at the mountains, and upon the magnificent statue of the Buddha.
Jesus is that Treasure, which, when found, will lead us to sell away all our possessions to buy it.
How serious are we in our search?
Do we really want God to find us?
To what lengths are you willing to go to have this Treasure?