I Know a Good Question When I See One

At the pumpkin patch, they handed us a paper with clues and a purple crayon for the scavenger hunt.

Follow the clues to places all over the farm and collect the letters.  Unscramble the letters at the end and find the answer to this question:

What’s the name of the largest pumpkin we grow here on the farm?

Collecting the letters is the easy part. It’s the putting them back together in a way that makes sense that’s hard.

My husband finds the word “giant” in this mesh of letters.  That sounds promising, but we’re still missing two words.

I ask the older man in overalls the question, like I’m just abnormally interested in the breeds of pumpkin.

So, you have lots of different kinds of pumpkins on this farm.  What’s the biggest kind you grow?

He smiles and leans down from the tractor: “Oh yeah, lots of kinds.  The big giant ones are in the barn.”47

I surmise that this is the most information I’ll get out of him.

I move along.

My kids line their pumpkins up on the table so we can pay for them while I ask the lady in the apron about pumpkin varieties, all casual like it’s just a question that has popped into my head for no apparent reason.

Finally I just tell on myself.   Here’s the deal.  We’re trying to figure out this scavenger hunt word scramble and how in the world are we supposed to know the names of the seeds you use when you plant pumpkins?  So can you help a girl out?

She laughs and says, “Whoa, that’s a hard clue.  How are you supposed to know that?”  Even she has to go and find someone else who knows the answer.

Dill’s Atlantic Giant

Gold stars to my husband for figuring out the “Giant” part.

He says I cheated and we could have figured that out.

There’s no way.  Even the nice people at the farm assure me no one would know the answer unless you actually knew about pumpkin breeds—which I do not.

No way could I leave that pumpkin patch with a question hanging over my head like that, though.  Cheating or not, I needed the answer, the solid truth to put that question right to rest.

Unanswered questions sit heavy on my soul.

I’d be Nicodemus slipping out into the night to find Jesus and pester him with questions because I just want to understand and make sense of it all.  Born again?  How does that work?  Parables, stories, and metaphors are all fine and good, but, Jesus, I want to know.  Can you lay it out all clear and step by step for a muddled, mixed-up girl like me?

I’m a Question-Girl who knows a good question when I see one.

So, I read it in Scripture, how the Israelites whined and complained their way through the wilderness outside of Egypt.  They glorified the past.  They questioned God.

In Exodus 17:17 it says,

Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?”

 Dr. Tony Evans says:

“It’s easy for us to judge the Israelites as we read their accusatory question against God. But I imagine we’ve all asked that question at some point, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?” (The Power of God’s Names)

Is that what it all came down to with them?  All of the complaining was really the perpetual search for an answer to the question that was rocking their souls:  Are you here with us, God?  Have you abandoned us?  Are we on our own?

We know the theological, good-Christian answer.

But sometimes I still feel like a lost little girl on a big wide farm with a crayon in one hand and a paper with a mixed-up message on it.matthew1

Is the Lord among us or not?

And that’s when we cling on tight to the promise that He is Immanuel, God With Us.  It’s the only name that fits in the blanks and that uses all the letters.  The only name that can heal the cracks in my shaking foundation and soothe the ache of my wandering soul.

Life in the wilderness for Israel was messy and hard.

Life for us sure is messy and hard sometimes, too.

During my year-long pursuit of the presence of Christ, this month I’ll be ‘Doing Messy Faith.’

Quiet times aren’t always pristine.  Prayer doesn’t follow a formula.  Life is noisy, busy, rushed…messy indeed.

But God is With Us right there in the middle of it.  Life won’t be perfect, but I don’t have to have all the answers to draw near in His presence.

Will you join me this month?

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Do Messy Faith’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King



When Holy is Dishes, Laundry, and Homework

Five puzzles, six books (or more), one game of Memory, word searches, and some tricycle training . . .

That’s what happens when we lose power or Internet at our house.  Life slows down.  When a daughter appears with board game in hand and a pleading look on her face, I have no excuse to give, no busyness to distract, nothing to prevent me from sitting  . . . and playing . . . and resting with my kids

I complain and whine with the best of them about the loss of conveniences and comfort, and I’d prefer running water with temperature control and the ability to cook meals and refrigerate food any day of the week.

But a day without email and the telephone . . . well, that’s a welcome vacation sometimes.

Christ Himself called His disciples away from the crowds and busyness of their lives to spend time with him alone, like unplugging from ministry life with its hectic pace and demands.

Mark tells us:

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest’” (Mark 6:31).

In Jesus: The One and Only, Beth Moore notes that:

“the original word for rest in this verse is anapauoPauo means “to cease, give rest.”  Guess what ana means?  “Again!”  We don’t need this kind of rest just once.  We need it again and again” (p. 116).

And again  . . . and again . . . and again.

Sometimes we need to go away–or unplug– to escape all that distracts us here so we can fix our attention on Him there.  We anticipate seeing God in the specifically designated portions of our lives we call “Spiritual” and the times we have set aside as “Holy.”

But then the real work begins.

Then we must return to the daily life in all its mundane activity and we must carry into that everyday behavior all that we learned in the holy moments we had set aside.

I’m trying to see Jesus while my hands are elbow-deep in dish water and the laundry piles stack up.

Can mopping the floor be spiritual?  Can folding clothes be a God-moment? Can doing dishes be part of my quiet time?

If we deny Him a place in the mundane day-to-day life, confining Him instead to a corner of our hearts designated “God stuff,”  then we miss Him and what He’s doing in us and through us.jeremiah2913

It’s what the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).  Not spiritual heart pieces and holy corners, but all that is in our heart searches after God.

In Scripture, Naaman almost missed finding God.  He was a big-shot, who commanded the army of the king of Aram, a great man, a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy (2 Kings 5:1).

Hearing about Elisha the prophet, Naaman sought healing from the man of God, but Elisha didn’t even come out of his house to meet with him.  Instead, Elisha sent out a messenger with some simple instructions: “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed” (2 Kings 5:10).

This was so . . . .basic.

So unimpressive.

So nonspiritual.

And Naaman was annoyed, angry even.

Naaman wanted a magic show with special effects rather than an order to take seven baths in the Jordan.  But, his servants challenged him: “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed!’” (2 Kings 5:13).

A few dips in the Jordan later, Naaman’s leprosy was totally healed.  All because he obeyed God in something simple and unimpressive.

If we have our eyes set only on the spectacular, we will miss God’s healing and cleansing work in the mundane and the everyday.

Will I manage to keep this perspective over time?  Probably not.  I will likely grow weary and burdened with the stresses of daily busyness.  I’ll need to retreat again, stepping away from it all to focus solely on God.

But then I’ll come back home where dishes and laundry and homework is what happens here and in that, yes even in that dailyness and routine, I can seek God’s presence, His input, His fellowship.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

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