My husband misplaced his wallet the other day. We were pretty sure it was somewhere in the house, but we couldn’t figure out where it was. Too bad it doesn’t have a locator like the iPhone does. After two days, we decided it was time to quit saying, “I wonder where it is,” and start tearing the house apart looking for it.
We searched the couch, the boys’ room and our room; all places he remembered having had it before he lost it.
Finally, after I asked him if he checked all his pants pockets, he decided it could possibly be in the load of dark laundry waiting to be done. So, killing two birds with one stone, I took the hamper to the washing machine and began to load in the soiled clothes, feeling around for anything that might resemble a wallet. Nearly to the bottom, bingo! I found the errant accessory in the pocket of a pair of shorts—evidently the ones he was wearing Tuesday night.
Earlier I had offered whomever found it all the cash that was in it. Winnah! I scored a whole buck. But that wasn’t the point. We were already starting to figure in our heads what would need to be cancelled if it wasn’t found soon. There was great rejoicing that we wouldn’t have to go through all that trouble.
On the other hand, we did find a Sharpie, a few pencils and other miscellaneous items in between the couch cushions.
And then my husband, sage that he is, said something profound: You can look as thoroughly as you want for something that is missing, but if you’re looking in the wrong place, it’s all for nothing.
We could have spent hours searching the house and come up empty handed.
There’s an old country song that says the same thing: “Looking for love in all the wrong places.”
The ancient philosopher Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
People look for love where true love can never be found, and even those who know Jesus, the embodiment of love, sometimes still look for approval in other places. Are you a people pleaser? Are you trying to earn God’s love by doing good things? Are you too interested in acceptance? In having people like you?
St. Augustine noted to God, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”
We can search, and search, and search for that which we have lost—or never had in the first place—but if we’re searching where it’s not, we will never find it.
Are you looking for love? Lost fulfillment? Grace? You can find it all in Jesus. He’s always a good place to start.
illustration via slate.com