I have a love/hate relationship with Legos.
And all the parents said, “Amen.”
The kids can sit for hours at a time making amazing creations. There are some awesome sets that look pretty darn cool when they are put together. I love the little cups and instruments and animals and cute extra pieces. Legos have come a long way from when my brothers played with them 30 years ago.
But on the other hand, they make a mess, especially when you’ve been collecting them for many years. They easily get sucked up in the vacuum. I’m pretty sure I’ve let some words fly when I step on one in my bare feet. And once you take an original set apart, it’s nearly impossible to find all the pieces and get it back together.
It was this last point where I found myself this week. While we shed ourselves of most possessions when we sold our house almost a year ago, the Legos stayed. Plus, we found a great deal on a huge lot at a yard sale last summer. Which means we own thousands and thousands and thousands of Legos. As we’re getting ready for a yard sale, I’ve been pulling out the last of the stuff we can sell to hopefully buy a water filter for the RV with what we earn. So I thought, we have all these Legos. Surely we won’t miss a set.
I chose a set that is basically a bunch of solid colors that we still had the box for. And then we started the search in my son’s massive Lego pile for the 1600 pieces we needed to collect.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But I had a determination about it. Selling this set would give us some extra money for this purchase and really, with the bathtub size amount of Legos we own, we aren’t going to miss these.
Over the past week, I have spent hours digging through our Lego collection to find these pieces. Over and over, looking for the shapes and colors we needed. I can’t tell you how many times I thought, “I’m never going to find this one. It’s too small.” Or, “I’ve looked at all these pieces 100 times and I haven’t seen it. It must be missing.”
And then suddenly, there it was.
I scraped Legos back and forth, sifted the smaller pieces through my fingers over and over looking for the smallest ones. (You know those little teeny tiny mini-ramps as we call them?) I moved positions around the area for a fresh look.
Towards the end of the search, I scooped piles of Legos and sifted them through my fingers and then put them in tubs once I was sure the few missing pieces weren’t there. I couldn’t believe how many pieces I found this way, ones that I swore up and down were missing. Out of 1600 pieces, there was only one tiny piece I didn’t find.
As I was sifting through the Legos one day, I couldn’t help but question my sanity. If we can even sell this set, is it worth the time I’ve put in? Aren’t there so many more important things I could be doing? (Um…yes) I could actually be playing Legos with my kids but instead I’m hoping for this extra money for this water filter we need and so therefore I’m relentlessly sitting in this pile of Legos and realizing how old I am when I stand up and my legs creak.
I questioned myself as to why this was so important? Am I feeling this need to help provide for my family? Am I just stubborn, because when I start something, I will finish it? Am I that desperate to make some extra money?
On the last day of sorting, I heard this gentle whisper. “You will find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Not knowing where this verse is found, I headed to my Bible to find out. This set of verses is actually underlined in my Bible. From the book of Jeremiah, Chapter 29, starting in verse 11, it reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, and I will bring you back from captivity.”
I used to look at verses in isolation. Maybe I preferred them that way. Maybe because as a kid we learned one verse at a time. Maybe because I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar to understand much else than one verse at a time. But I’m learning that if I’m drawn to a verse, I need to read the verses that come before and after. I need to understand who was being spoken to and what the times were like. I certainly don’t get it or understand it every time, but I’m finding it helps me understand Scripture so much better.
And this example was no exception. Why had God led me here?
What I learned from reading the chapter beforehand was that these verses were written by the prophet Jeremiah to the Israelites during their time of exile in Babylon. They had basically been given a false word by the prophet Hananiah that they would be returned to their homeland in two years. Their time of banishment would be over and all would be well. The reality is, there was apparently no timeline that short in store for the Israelites and it would be 70 years before they would return to Jerusalem. Meaning, they would die in exile. So Jeremiah came and delivered that message to the people. Sobering, huh?
There were three main things that stood out to me reading this.
- They were instructed to live their lives in exile as though they were in the own land. Verses 4-7 tell the people to grow their families, build houses, plant gardens and to seek peace in their city. There was no whining and hoping for something that wasn’t. They were to live life. Even though they weren’t where they wanted to be, life would continue and they were to continue in it.
- God said He would come back and fulfill His promise to return the Israelites to their land. He had a future and a hope for them. The future and hope maybe didn’t look like they thought it would, as it was also for those who came after them. As they grew, the promise would be for future generations.
- The promise of rescuing them from captivity doesn’t come until they have a relationship with Him. He says you will seek me and find me and then I will bring you back.
Might I be so honest as to confess that I needed desperately to read this story? I find that I am so much like the Israelites. I recognize myself in them in this story. I want to believe that things are going to happen much, much sooner than they ever do. I think of all the scenarios in my mind of how God might work things out in my life. I certainly would prefer a two-year timeline to a 70 year timeline. I want things to change now.
But even in the midst of waiting, in the midst of praying and wondering what is to come in our lives, we are still to live life. Plant gardens. Build houses. Make babies. Seek peace and prosperity where we are right now.
As the lovely Chelsea says in her recent testimony, “I wanted God to change my circumstances so badly…now I know why He wasn’t going to change my circumstances. He wanted my heart.”
That’s what He wants. Our hearts. Whether or not we are delivered to the next season in our lives, His promise is that we will find Him.
I think that’s the greatest part of this passage. NOT that He has good plans for us. But that we can find Him. That He won’t leave Himself hidden forever. We can know Him. But we have to want that. We have to seek Him.
God speaks to us, even through Legos. My relentless pursuit of these missing Lego pieces was in a way symbolic of what it’s like to seek Him with all of our hearts. Never giving up. Asking and seeking and knocking again and again, over and over. Searching His Word. Sifting through the verses and the promises and grabbing for those nuggets revealed by His Spirit. Recognizing that it’s not a fast process or always an enjoyable one. Knowing who God is and wanting to be like Him will cost us. But we will find Him. Even if it’s piece by piece. Knowing God isn’t something that happens in one fell swoop. But the more we learn about Him and the more we know Him, the more we want Him.
Because He is good.
Because He wants to be found.
And He will be found. When our hearts are fully for Him.