I want to be young forever, I think. I’m celebrating my twenty-fourth birthday. I’m having knee pain after sitting cross-legged for too long. I want to be young forever.
I think about death. I think about life. I want to be content, I think. I am scrubbing grease from already-washed tupperware. I am running into the branch of a Crepe Myrtle tree and fishing the white blossoms out of my hair.
Scripture opens up for me. It closes. I am watching YouTube instead of praying. I want to be more devout.
I check off my daily boxes. 1 Kings 4. Psalm 114. Ephesians 5. I want to know this book.
My mind won’t stop when I want it to. There are doubts in my periphery. I want to believe.
There are sermons in my podcasts app and the playlist of church music I’ve started on Spotify titled “Glory” is filling up. I want to be new.
There is this scene in the Bible, in the book of John, right after Jesus appears in the story. John the Baptist has been preaching Jesus’ coming.
“Behold! The Lamb of God,” John says, having seen Jesus walk by. Two of John’s disciples immediately follow Jesus, and Jesus, feeling them behind him, turns.
“What are you seeking,” he asks.
They don’t really answer him, asking another question instead.
“Where are you staying?”
Jesus tells them to come, keep following, and they will see.
The next day, Philip–a new follower of Jesus–runs to tell his friend, Nathanael, that he has found the Christ, the one foretold in the books of the law and the prophets. Nathanael, incredulous, asks, “Can anything good come of Nazareth?”
Philip’s response is one I’m interested in. In the previous verses, Jesus is called Lamb of God, Son of God, Rabbi, and Messiah by an assortment of people. Philip could have used any combination of these names to describe, accurately, just what sort of good could come from the insignificant town of Nazareth. Philip chooses none of these in response. Instead, he answers, unknowingly, quite like Jesus himself.
“Come and see.”
Philip, having been with Jesus, must have known that language could do no justice to the goodness of the Christ. So many names, so many characteristics. The writer in me quivers thinking of the hyperbole I could use that wouldn’t actually be hyperbole at all. He could have quoted the law and the prophets he himself mentioned, could’ve drawn word pictures to rival the psalms of David.
But I suppose Philip knew the only way for Nathanael to understand the goodness of the Messiah was for Nathanael to go to Jesus and see for himself. Come and see.
Nathanael went, and he saw. And he was never the same.
I am changing, even now. Every year I am different. My body changes and my hair changes and my tastes change. For the past couple of years, I have changed homes and cities. Last name. Email address. Some of my closest friendships are a little less than two years old. I am meeting new people all the while. Hindu. Taoist. Jewish. I am learning and losing and forgetting and gaining and seeking.
“What do you seek?” Jesus turns to John’s disciples and asks, “What do you seek?”
They do not answer.
I am looking for ways to be better. I am saying “should” too much and not doing enough.
What do you seek?
Maybe their question was their answer; maybe they only wanted to see where he lived.
I am listening to instrumental tracks and brushing my teeth. I want to create. I am drawing every day for Inktober.
I am in bed reading a book. I am running laps around the pond near the fitness center and the mailboxes. I want to be invigorated.
Maybe they didn’t answer because they didn’t know what they wanted. Maybe they were seeking too much. Maybe they didn’t know how to say, “We are seeking everything.”
“Come and you will see,” Jesus said. Maybe he meant you will see where I live. Or maybe he meant, you will see everything you don’t know yet that you are looking for.
I am reading. I am praying. I have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, I have no good apart from you.”
Jesus says to Nathanael once he has come to him, “You will see greater things than these.”
I think about that now, while I write. While I pray. While I seek, even though I sometimes don’t know how. The Lord asks, “What do you seek?”
My answer to his question? You. Even when I don’t know it. Even when I answer incorrectly.
The Lord–merciful, unchanging, and good–responds.
“Come and you will see.