Super Bowl XXXV - 2001 - My lost little boy

Super Bowl time is electric.  Whether your favorite NFL team made it to to final two or not, there is excitement in the air.  Whether you even HAVE a favorite team or not... or even know what "2nd down and 3 to go" means, Super Bowl Day still offers anticipation... sometimes only for the unveiling of new, innovative commercials.

Our church jumped in with the fun and created an atmosphere of fellowship (I know that's such a church word.... best defined as time to enjoy good food, sit with friends, and make new friends while a game was on tv).  Our family looked so forward to this night, as Frank always helped with set-up and making our fellowship hall both welcoming and accommodating, including a separate "quiet" room complete with a single big-screen tv and snacks for the serious football fans.

Children become very familiar with the church they grow up in... and so do their parents.  Maybe it was because Clay was our fourth child... maybe it was because he is a boy... maybe it was because he seemed to be "sort of" the Super Bowl mascot... Everyone thought he was so cute and funny - he was 3 at the time.... :)

Regardless of the why, at some point during the evening, Frank and I touched base realizing that I mistakenly thought Frank has an eye on Clay, and Frank clearly assumed I had Clay on my radar.  Quickly we gathered our three girls, expecting to see Clay tagging along with one of them.
"Nope, haven't seen him."
"Not with me."
"You mean you lost Clay??"

We calmly checked restrooms, hallways, the game areas  - that lasted about five minutes, and then heart began to panic.  Realizing the favorite for our youth ministry was hiding somewhere in church, we knew there were so many nooks and crannies to be searched.  Most of the areas of the building were intentionally dark, so that all would be clearly directed to the Fellowship Hall.  Clay was afraid of the dark, so we began to assume worst case scenarios.  

Within seconds the noise of the game blurred, the cheering subsided from "Go, giants!", "Come on, Ravens!", to "Clay, where are you?", "Clay, can you hear me?"  "Clay! CLAY!  CLAAAAAAAAAY"

As more friends jumped into the search, questions peppered my ears:  
Did you check the bathrooms?  YES
Did you check the kitchen?  YES
Did you check the back hallway?  YES
Did you check the gym?  YES - but its pitch black in there; Clay is afraid of the dark.

Most all eyes, ears, attention, and concern turned to this 38-inch mischevious towhead who had seemingly vanished.  

As we continued screaming his name throughout the building, some had headed outside into the freezing cold with flashlights, and still others retraced steps already taken in other parts of the building.  One friend took another approach.  He went alone into the dark forsaken gym, and whispered, "Clay, are you in here?"

The soft giggle erupted.  "You found me, Mr. Hal!  Here I am."

As my fingers dialed 911, Clay was being carried, as quickly as possible, to Frank and me.  Of course, his little body could barely handle our embrace of joy.  

You see, he wanted to be found... he wasn't hiding to be lost.  He was thrilled to be sought - 

Reading through the Bible this year, I just read Exodus 33... and "just happens" that a group of ladies I study alongside began this week, a study called, God Seeker, based on... yes, of course, Exodus 33. 

Can I encourage your heart with what has encouraged mine this past week?  Friends, the Creator of this beautiful world wants to be in constant conversation with you.  He created you.  He chose you.  He loves you.

Throughout this chapter, God and Moses have an ongoing conversation.

"The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend." Ex. 33:11

"The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'" Ex. 33 14

"And the Lord said to Moses, 'I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.'" Ex. 33:17 

Do you need a friend?
Are you begging for rest?
Do you long for someone to know your name?

Take some time, take a moment, realize that God is not hidden... HE calls you by name.  Don't allow the noise of the crowd, the looming pressure of the day, the angst of the world rob you of HIS presence.  

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 
Jeremiah 29:13

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