First The Natural

But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.
First Corinthians 15:46

These days I rarely misplace things. I have learned the value of routines for such matters as putting things where they belong. But lately, and curiously, I have lost certain things which are not of great value but they are of great value to me. It’s embarrassing to admit that in these moments I pray for their discovery and return. This all seems to have commenced around the time we began construction on our new auditorium. Upon reflection, I can see yet another way God has been teaching me some valuable lessons about my relationship with Him through this construction project.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:10

I won’t bore you with a catalogue of the things that I have lost over the past 14 weeks – which have nearly all been returned or found – but I will share about the latest one. A few days ago my eye-cup disappeared. No, I don’t keep my glass eye in a cup, partly because I don’t have a glass eye. An ‘eye-cup’ is a photographic term for the rubber and plastic surround to the view-finder on a DSLR camera. This seemingly insignificant bit of plastic and rubber is highly valuable to me because, (i) I use it everyday; (ii) the camera manufacturer doesn’t make them anymore. I looked “everywhere” for it without success. I began doing what I always do when I don’t know what to do. I prayed

The loss of my eye-cup was also particularly frustrating because I didn’t lose it. It wasn’t as if I took it off and randomly left it somewhere without being able to recollect where I put it. No, it had decided to run-away from home! Each time I have prayed for God to help me to locate what I had lost over the past 14 weeks, I have felt a degree of guilt. After all, God is extremely busy. He’s got a lot going on at the moment – what, with the situation in the Middle East, the various atrocities being committed by East African despots, and now the North Korean crisis. I could hardly think He was concerned with something so incredibly trivial as my eye-cup. 

But as He answered each prayer for such trivial losses, I began to realise something magnificent about our God. He is audaciously, gloriously, splendidly magnificent! No detail escapes Him. No task is too great for Him. I have discovered that the more I appeal to these facts about God, the more my soul appreciates His unfathomable magnificence and then the greater my confidence to pray every care to Him. This includes run away eye-cups.

¶ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
First Peter 5:6-7

Yesterday morning, I had someone, who is not a part of our church, drop in to see me. As they looked inside our new auditorium they said, “I have felt God saying that this is the place where the lost will be found! Keep being faithful and God will be glorified in this place by bringing and saving the lost here!” 

At the end of the day, after daylight had gone, I hooked up my trailer (which I had taken to church to removed some of the left-over building materials), and as I did I noticed my eye-cup just near my trailer’s wheel! I nearly cried as I worshiped the Magnificent God and thanked Him for His deep care for my trivial matters. But I was awash in the realisation that each of these lost-and-found moments had been portends, prophetic sign-posts, of what God was ultimately going to do. I have found that what the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians has a broader application than just the point he was making about the nature of the resurrection, when he wrote, “First comes the natural, then the spiritual.” 

As we open our building this weekend, may we indeed pray that many who are now lost will indeed be found.

Pastor Andrew