That’s not a typo in the title, it really is a #. It was always called a pound sign, or number sign. Now it is commonly known as a hashtag. I’m always fascinated by the way meanings of things change over time.
Put a hashtag in front of every random thought that comes into your head (as long as it’s not more than 140 characters), and post it on twitter, the facebook and every other social media tool at your fingertips. And people will “follow” you. They may respond back with their own 140 character #thought. It’s quick. It’s fast. It’s downright viral. #instantgratification.
But what are we looking for? Is there a thirst for knowledge anymore?
Our school systems are inundated with common core, and PARCC testing. Little kids are being taught to the test, rather than having their minds expanded as thinkers. All they can think about is how they will do on the test, how to take the test. Little kids put in front of computers to bang out answers like robots that will help the school get better grades. Are they being taught the treasure of a good book? Are they given the time to delve into a book to get lost in the story and the wonder of the written word so their imaginations take flight? Someone recently told me her granddaughter always loved to read. Loved a good book. Until “ #teachtothetest” education was mandated. Now she hates to read. It has become a chore. See how quickly you can read and spit out an answer if asked a question. No time to linger. No time to appreciate the enormity of talent that writer may have. Just #learnit. #dummyingdownouroffspring. God have mercy!
Some of the times of greatest learning in my life have been the times that I actually stopped to linger awhile. Taking the time to read a good book. Or a newspaper. Taking the time to linger over a cup of coffee with a friend. Taking the time to question something, then seek and search for the answer. No hashtag, no urgency. Just search until finding what I am looking for.
About eleven years ago, a young girl came to me with some problems she was having in her life. She suffered through the abomination of years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and her brother. She was convinced she was worthless and was put on earth for no other reason than to be used and abused. As she grew older, she became a very promiscuous teenager, a drug addict and a prostitute. She told me she sought out men and sold herself because that was the only way she knew how to get approval of any kind. She came to hate men so much that she then turned to women. This poor girl really had no idea who she was or why she was ever born. She had a breakdown and crashed hard. She came to me to ask me about God.
This girl was in such a state that she couldn’t even function and carry out the basics of daily living, like getting up and brushing her teeth. I didn’t know how to help her. There was no hashtag thought to fix it. I prayed with her. I told her about Jesus. I answered her questions about God. I told her to seek God, and she would find Him. But I knew that she, in this fragile state, would never be able to throw herself into a Bible study or church. She literally spent days not even getting out of bed. So I gave her a “God’s Promises” booklet that I had.
She later told me that every day she would read a sentence or two from that book. It was not a Bible, but had Bible verses all listed under categories. Every day she told me she would just lay on her couch, and read at least one sentence from that book. That was the biggest goal she could set for herself: just read one sentence, one verse a day. Over time, she got better. She became functional again. And she said she found God. She found that when she asked Him a question, she would pick up that book and read one sentence, and she found Him. Through all of her suffering during that time, at her lowest point, the point of suicide, she found her answers, one verse at a time.
That, my friends, is searching. It took time. There were no facebook and twitter in 2004. # was still a number or pound sign. But that little book of verses, that was the hashtag tool of the day. One little verse at a time. For her, reading that one verse a day allowed her to understand what I tried to tell her when she asked me about Jesus. The living Word, the healing Word.
This is what I say to you this Easter: Seek for truth, seek God. Linger and search, or #search, one verse at a time, but do it. You will see, you will know. “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” Jer. 33:2, 3
After I gave the other authors of this blog the topic for this month, I came across a poem I wrote on 3/17/2004. I wrote it after that girl told me how she had found God to be the answer to her questions. It tells her story. My prayer for you is that you are blessed and refreshed in His awesome presence!
There on My Face
There on my face I was broken,
Felt my heart had been flayed open
To be cleaned by the Hand of the Lord.
Such ugliness was inconceivable;
Such pain unimaginable.
Being cleaned by the Hand of the Lord.
There on my face I saw Him
His eyes of mercy and love fell on me
My heart is healed by the Hand of the Lord.
There on my face I was raised up
To the place of intimate surrender
To know Him, to love Him, to serve Him.
Lifted by the Hand of the Lord.