The scene: Sitting with my two oldest daughters (11 and 9) playing “Dogopoly” (think Monopoly for dogs where Boardwalk and Park Place are a St. Bernard and a Great Dane and where hotels are out but massive dog bones are in).
The event: “Dad, I think there’s a bird in the house.”
The reality: “Daaaaaddddd!!!!! It is a BAT!!!! There is a BAAAATTT in the house!!!!!” Pause. “Oh how coooolll!”
I look up from calculating how much a dog bone at the corner of Boxer and Dachshund is going to cost (about $550) to see an actual, factual bat flying through the house and up the stairs and my two girls chasing it with a broom and a fly swatter NOT in an attempt to hurt it but to gently usher it out of doors.
My girls are nothing if not animal lovers. By this I do not mean that they like looking at pictures of animals or having fuzzy animal slippers. My oldest, Laura, would happily trade any (or all) family members for either a horse or a two dogs. Rachel, slightly younger, would do the same. The bat was never in danger.
The only thing is that it absolutely disappeared.
We went room by room, closet and nook and cranny by closet and nook and cranny and no bat.
At this point, with bedtime nearing, the girls were thinking they loved the idea of the bat but not really in the house while they were sleeping. So I checked every possible hiding spot in their rooms in and shut the doors. They were happy.
Until the bat reappeared.
The little thing flew and flew and with girls and adults on its tail, it went from spot to spot and we realized why we hadn’t been able to find it.
It was tiny when not flying.
It was the size of a small mouse (hanging upside down with big ears and eyes and a very cute belly).
We finally ushered it out of doors and once it was gone we missed it.
For the brief moments it was around it was as if real nature had invaded the home – in a wonderful way.
And it got me to thinking about God and all the ways that I tend to treat God like that bat.
So often I feel like I’ve got to go chase him down and find him – that he is hiding away in some corner and it is my job to rouse him and discover him. I think he doesn’t want to be found and that my presence is that of an interloper.
How different reality is. God is not a bat. God wants to be found. He wants to lavish with love. He wants to embrace and enthrall. He wants to pursue.
I am the bat.
I am the one who hides and cowers and fears and forgets that God is calling my name.