Last tuesday we celebrated the festival of Epiphany (another national holiday here in Cyprus), remembering the revelation of God to a group of magi (wise men) somewhere in the east and their subsequent journey to worship Jesus in Bethlehem. I always wonder exactly what it was that they discovered and how they found it, because it’s clear that those wise men(however many of them there might have been) were so taken, so intrigued by whatever had been revealed to them that they chose to undertake a long and probably arduous journey in order to discover more.
Interestingly, it seems likely that they followed a similar route to Abraham, who also travelled from the east in search of the answer to a promise God had revealed to him. Abraham found the promised land, but the magi found God himself.
This idea of a sudden and great revelation that leads to a journey has reminded me of one of my favourite Bible stories:
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13: 45-46 NKJV
The merchant had his own moment of sudden and great realisation: the knowledge that there was a pearl so beautiful that every other that he had ever seen paled into comparison beside it. And it led him to begin an uncompromising pursuit of that pearl, giving up everything he had previously valued in order too have it.
In all these cases that what fired the pursuit was a revelation that there was something of inestimable value to be found or gained. A sudden understanding that it is was worth looking, worth hunting, worth travelling out of your way, worth pursuing, worth paying the fare, worth letting go of everything else to find it.
It was a lightbulb moment – a hearing from God moment – a moment when everything changed and the world snapped into different perspective that motivated the wise men and Abraham to start their relentless pursuits of what had been dangled tantalisingly before them. It wasn’t something that man did, but something that God did.
I’m feeling like this month, epiphany month, is a time to ask God to weigh in. Ask him to weigh in with ‘sudden and great realisation and revelation’ in the lives of people you love, in the lives of your work colleagues and friends and even in the lives of people you don’t really know. It’s a time to ask for God to reveal himself and to draw people into a journey towards the promise he has for them. It’s a time to ask him to dangle the pearl of great price that is the kingdom of heaven in front of their noses so that a unquenchable yearning for more breaks open in their hearts.
And, while we’re there, perhaps we should ask that he does it for us too.
This post 52, and it marks the end of a full year of postcards. Thank you to every one of you who has read them and shared them, and especially to those who’ve written to say you’ve heard God through them. I’m going to post regularly on a thursday this year as my wednesdays have got a bit busy… See you then, Ellie x