Looking For Me

"I had a bad day," little Matthew pouted in response to my questions about his first day in first grade.

"Your day would've been bad too," he informed me, "if you couldn't have been with your dad."

Soon after, I learned that Matthew's mother had left her husband and this little son the previous summer. I made certain to return Matthew's Hi's whenever he greeted me.

By Christmas vacation he had developed the habit of looking for me at lunch. Often he would sneak up from behind and give me a choke hold around the neck. One day after his choke-hold greeting, he stood silently beside my chair while the students around us carried on an animated conversation.

Then he tapped me on the shoulder. "There's just one thing I don't understand about us," he said solemnly.

Having not a clue to what he was about to say, I asked, "What is it?"

"How come," he answered, his blue eyes big, "it is always me looking for you? Why don't you ever come looking for me? It makes me sad when I'm the only one doing the looking."

"Oh, Matthew," I promised, "from now on I promise to look for you every day."

The next day, before sitting down to eat with my older students, I consciously looked for Matthew and spotted him at a far table in a group of rowdy little classmates. Just as I started walking in his direction, he looked up, saw me, and began to wave. Then he caught himself and quickly lowered his head. But I could see him peering out from under his long eyelashes as I approached. The closer I got, the lower he dropped his head.

When I got close enough, I called out, "Matthew! Matthew! There you are! I've been looking everywhere for you!"

Dropping his soggy sandwich on the table with a thud, Matthew jumped out of this chair and threw his arms about my waist. "You were looking for me this time!" he shouted joyfully. "You were looking for me!"

Then he backed away as a playful expression came over his face. "You were looking for me, but I let you find me."

The Bible contains stories about Someone looking for others. There's one about a Good Shepherd who went looking for a lost lamb. And Revelation 3 says the Lord is still looking for us, even on the doorstep, knocking at our doors.

As I've pondered those stories, I've thought a lot about little Matthew and his wanting to be sought after instead of always having to be the one doing the searching.  What Matthew said has made me wonder if, like that lonely little first-grader, God doesn't sometimes feel a bit weary of having to look for me during the quickly passing days of my busy life. I wonder if God wouldn't like His Friendship with me to be more balanced, with me making more of an effort to go looking for Him.

By Carolyn Sutton