Seeking Hard Enough
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(read Mark 1 and first half of “The Explicit Gospel” by Matt Chandler)
Last night we walked to a native drum circle just up the beach. This wild and wooly sight unfolds every Sunday night just as the sun is sinking into the Gulf. It’s a sight to see, and my kids won’t miss it. Some thirty drummers bang a booming rhythm while beach goers cut loose with dancing. I use the term “dancing” in the loosest of ways. The family always threaten to jump smack dab in the middle of the dancing and weirdness, but so far Michael has been the only one good to his word.
Usually, we hang back and watch the flavorful people inside the circle. Oh the people. You can watch a few seconds of drum circle madness by watching this Youtube video I posted by clicking here.
Crazy, huh? There’s one guy we see every year who sports a jester’s cap, waves chicken feathers at tourists, and smiles with an evil satisfaction when he cajoles people into dancing. There’s also the lady with orange ribbons on her feet and orange flowers in her hair. She was too into the whole scene to not be absolutely fascinating. It really was hard for me to not stare. Donna Joanna was another inside the circle character that Lauren and I had to get a picture with. We’re not sure if Donna was… well, Don — but she was into the dancing and festivities with her gold lamay wings spread far and wide. Lauren and I quickly jumped into the circle of crazies, and Donna Joanna obliged with a quick picture. Awesome. We also quickly got out. Whew.
There did seem to be something these inside the circle folks were hungry for. They were too serious and entranced not to be. The drummers were leading people into something or somewhere. When the sun was absorbed fully into darkness, the drum circle crowd offered up a huge yell. It was as if they were thanking the sun for giving them another day of hedonistic beach pleasure and asking for another. This wasn’t just a bunch of weird people hoping to be watched. They were watching and waiting and dancing and worshiping something that would hopefully fill their otherwise heat-parched souls.
And then there were those people like me who kept a safe distance from the inside of the circle. The people who encircled the dancing folks had cameras, wide-eyes, folded arms, and raised eye brows. The folks who encircled the entranced seemed to be the rule followers. I wondered if, like me, all the outside the circle people wanted secretly to be uninhibited and dance with the inside the circle people. Why do the outside the circle people stay outside? Why do rule followers often smirk at those who dance with abandonment? There’s something the rule followers are also searching for to fill a void that performance and approval never will. I’m not sure they know that yet.
Both groups, dancing and otherwise, were searching. it occurs to me that inside and outside the drum circle, great effort is being exerted to somehow fill something that is missing.
C.S. Lewis wrote how Jesus finds all of our desires not too strong, but too weak. Lewis doesn’t see God rolling His eyes that we are seeking our own pleasures, but rather paints God as looking at us and saying, “They’re not seeking hard enough.” That’s a great thought, isn’t it. The hedonists and the legalists are all seeking, but not hard enough.
We fool around with stuff that we think will offer happiness, satisfaction, and fulfillment. We seldom grab onto a consuming joy that is offered. It’s like becoming a teenager and staying in the kiddie pool when the adventure of an awesome ocean is but a few yards away. Rule followers and crazy sun worshipers both are not seeking hard enough.
After 27 years of ministry, God is graciously bringing me to a place where seeking hard enough is seeing Jesus in everything… as He is. Sadly, it’s taken me far too long. Seeking hard enough is integrating Jesus’ good news of restoration into every nook, cranny, thought, and experience inside and outside the drum circle. Seeking hard enough is remembering the glory dance of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and how I’m invited in. I thought about this today as three seagulls danced and weaved above the ocean waters this morning.
Seeking hard enough is remembering how creation mimics the dance of the trinity. The sky, ocean, and sand all dance, serve, and point to each other like the Father, Son, and Spirit do. This is the grand glory of God. Seeking hard enough, then, is seeing every wave not merely as water crashing to the shoreline, but rather an invitation to Jesus. THIS is why creation was dubbed good from the very beginning. I want to keep seeking hard enough to see the gospel, good news, reconciliation, and restoration in all that surrounds me. I want to help those inside and outside the drum circle to see fully what they are really searching for.