I knew a man who went to Mt. Rushmore as a child. He said the whole trip bored him. The drive, the gift shop, the usual rigmarole of tourism, all of it was a drain. Mt. Rushmore was a dud.
But then something happened, something that changed everything: He looked up.
As the day ended and his family drove away, this boy for the first time actually looked up at the mountain. He looked up and screamed out, “There are faces on the mountain!” What he missed all day he finally saw. He got it. He was amazed. He was transfixed. He had been awakened.
Until that moment, Mt. Rushmore had been just another blip on the road trip itinerary. The day to him was parking and walking and keeping up with the family, and somewhere in the midst of all the details, he missed the point.
Sounds crazy I know. But missing the point is easy. I do it all the time.
I can quickly become the hurried child, head down, trying to keep up with the pack, rolling through the schedule, fulfilling obligations, checking boxes, and all the while missing it. I can miss God’s presence in my life. I can miss his power. I can miss his voice.
Even in religion I can miss God. Jesus said to the religious folks of his day “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” This is a shocking oversight, but I can easily drift into this pattern too. I can focus on the tourism and miss the mountain. I can miss God in my theologizing. I can miss sonship in my analysis of the family tree. I can miss the presence of God in the noise of religious festivities. I can get so close to God, yet never look up, never see his face.
What is the solution? Right now, for me the solution hangs around two words: Simple and Slow. Simple + Slow = Soul.
Simple. I do better when I keep life simple. When I avoid frittering, my ears sharpen and my soul deepens. When I disdain complexity, I can focus on what is important.
Slow. Slow is the closely related complement to simple. My soul needs slow. My soul gets thin when the going gets fast. I must refuse to be hurried. I know I will be busy. It’s unavoidable and often out of my control. But I am never required to be hurried. So I must insist on keeping a slow spirit even in the midst of a fast pace.
So what about you? What keeps you from missing the point? How do you ensure you see God? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment.