“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8
At camp this year we spent a lot of time talking about “God winks,” which are little things that God does for you simply because he loves you. At the beginning of the week, I thought these were strictly the crazy moments when you feel the presence of God, or when you hear the voice of God. I thought that these were the only way that God really communicated with us. But as camp progressed, I started noticing more and more little things that God had done for me. The one that sticks out the most is when I saw a firefly.
Now, this may seem insignificant to most, but let me explain. I moved from Pennsylvania in 2013. We lived in the country, so many fireflies called our backyard home during the summer. Now I live in South Carolina, and I haven’t seen one since I moved here. When I saw that single firefly at camp this summer, it meant the world to me. It was like God had put that one bug there just for me. Not only did it bring me joy to see this firefly, but God taught me about who he is; more specifically, that he is kind.
More recently, God revealed to me the similarities between the story of Abraham and the story of Jesus. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only (and long-awaited) son, Isaac. Abraham chose to obey God, but God saved Isaac before Abraham could complete the task. God loved both Abraham and Isaac so much that he spared both of them from a tragedy. It wasn’t like God couldn’t give Abraham another son, but God knew how much sacrificing Isaac would hurt Abraham. He loved these mere humans so much that he spared them from heartbreak. However, God chose not to spare himself from the same heartbreak. He sacrificed his only son for us. He loves us so much that he chose to inflict the same type of heartbreak on himself that he wouldn’t allow over one of us! Not only that, but the heartbreak he suffered was because of us, yet he loves us still. God choosing to save Isaac and giving his son for us shows me that he is, in fact, not self-seeking and he always protects us, as it says in 1 Corinthians 13.
A few years ago I found myself feeling completely isolated not only from people but from God. I was talking to him during worship, telling him how alone I felt. In that moment, I heard him tell me that he didn’t forget me. Hearing that changed my outlook on life because no matter how alone I feel, I know that God is still thinking about me.
God is constantly taking me back. Sometimes I run away from him because I’m ashamed, or I separate myself from him because I sinned. But time and time again he takes me back. No matter how much I screw up, I know that he doesn’t love me because I’m perfect, he loves me because I’m his. By always accepting me, he shows me that he is patient, he is not easily angered, and that he keeps no record of wrongs. How comforting it is to have a God like him!
By now, I assume that you’re catching onto the pattern. These are all ways that God has communicated his love and character to me. Sometimes it’ll be as simple as a firefly, sometimes it’ll be through a bible verse, and other times it’ll be by forgiving me. But sometimes I feel like God has gone completely silent, and I’m sure you feel like this sometimes as well. When I feel like this, I assess what I’m doing wrong, since I know that God is always right beside me. What I often find is that I’m not actively looking for him or I’m just waiting to hear his voice. What I fail to realize in these times is that because he is such a great God, he is not limited to communicating with me audibly. He can use any form of communication, but I’m just not looking for it. Once I start looking for him everywhere, I realize that he never went silent.
The next time you feel like you can’t hear God, look for him. Crack open the Bible, take a walk outside, or just focus on the little things. Know that all good things come directly from God (James 1:17). When you look at every good thing as something from God, it’ll change the way you look at life. God will no longer be the God that you only experience during church or prayer; he’ll be in your everyday life. He will no longer be only the God of a gentle whisper during worship, but the God of fireflies. All you have to do is look for him, and soon you’ll see him everywhere.
Written by: Chloe