The Art of Noticing

“Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"

Genesis 16:13

One of the main attributes of God is His omniscience, meaning God knows everything there is to know about anything. God never learns anything new. He is keenly aware of all that is going on in the world at any given moment in time. That’s why Jesus when teaching His disciples how to pray warned them about praying long prayers thinking that the longer you prayed the more likely God would answer your request. Jesus put it like this in Matthew 6:7-8, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

In my desire to be thankful this year the book I am currently reading spoke about the role noticing plays in gratitude and it made perfect sense to me as I realize I am a lousy noticer, if there ever was such a word. The writer said, “The act of noticing, after all, is a crucial part of gratitude; you can’t be grateful if your attention is scattered.” Ouch! I have complimented my wife on her taste in decorations only to learn that what I was noticing had been in the place it was for a couple of years. I almost always am on the verge of going into cardiac arrest when someone says to me, “notice anything different?” I readily confess I fail miserably at “stopping and smelling the roses”. Call it ADD, being easily distracted, being somewhere other than where I am at, or just plain forgetful. I have learned that I cant be thankful for that which I am not aware.

So, how do I go about becoming more grateful this year you might be thinking? First, I need to get my eyes off my self and on the Lord. I need to remind myself of what Jesus said, “For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Since God is Omniscient and therefore knows what I need even before I ask, I am free to focus more of my energy and time on appreciating what’s right in front of me rather than striving for something that is not. And second, the best way I have found to accomplish that is to heed Jesus words found in Matthew 6:33-34, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Practically speaking then, the best way to notice what’s going on around me in this fast paced world we live in that is only picking up speed since I am on the downside of fifty years of age is to actively and purposefully look for Jesus every day. Do you recall the children’s book, “Where’s Waldo?” that had page after page of scenes crammed with all very similar shapes and colors with the goal being to find Waldo somewhere on the page. I have to confess I enjoyed looking for Waldo with my children as we scoured the pages. And oh the excitement of finding Waldo for the very first time!

Because God is all knowing and because He is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere at one time, we can do more than just notice God, we can actually find God if we will seek for Him. The Bible makes this clear in Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” As good as that sounds the good news of the gospel only gets better for the follower of Christ, to the one who has invited Jesus to take up residence in their heart. Jesus promised His disciples in Matthew 28:20, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The writer of Hebrews put it like this in speaking of the promise of God, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Yes, loved one, the best way to develop a grateful heart in 2019 is to notice what’s going on around us because God is active in what is going on. The Bible reminds us in Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” And Psalm 19:1 makes it clear, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” Notice what’s going on around you and focus your attention on the Creator behind the creation, the Designer behind the design and you cant help be thankful, you cant help but notice the One who created all things and the One with whom all things were created.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?”

Psalm 8:3-4



Michael Osthimer

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