A Search Never Disappointed
Some searches end in disappointment.
You looked high and low for your cell phone, but you never found it back. Or maybe you spent an hour on the beach with your metal detector, but found nothing, not even a pull tab. Sometimes when we seek, we don’t even know if something is there: we’re just groping in the dark.
But God is there. If we ascend into heaven, or if we make our bed in the depths, He is there. That is his glory, that God is everywhere present, yet never stretched thin.
Says Isaiah, “Seek the LORD while He may be found” (55:6).
Let’s understand this properly. Seeking God is not like our search for something we’ve misplaced, like that desperate search for our cell phone. No, if God ever feels far away or distant, it’s not because He has moved. More often than not, it’s because we have.
We’re called to seek the LORD: not looking for the missing God but seeking the one whom we know is already present.
The Hebrew word for “seek” has a nice depth of meaning. The basic sense of the verb is “to take a step toward,” to start moving in a certain direction. That’s because for the Israelites, seeking the LORD meant physically going to his house of worship. For many of them, it meant making a journey to the tabernacle or the temple.
That still gives a good picture of what is involved in seeking after God. Stepping toward him must be deliberate. If I can use a buzzword, our seeking after God must be intentional. It must be something we’ve set out to do and committed time to do.
Nobody wanders into a good relationship with God.
It doesn’t happen by accident, as if one morning we wake up and we find that the LORD is suddenly near to us. And certainly not if we’ve been careless or lazy in seeking him.
Listen to what God says in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” The LORD wants his people to put their heart into it: “Here is everything that I have done for you in Jesus Christ. Here is what I freely offer. Now seek it earnestly and hold onto it tightly.”
When a person grows up in a Christian environment, we just might not have much of a sense of urgency in seeking God. For God has always been there. We’ve been taught his Word by our parents and pastors. Our heads are chock-full of good doctrines. The “concept” of God (if I can put it that way) is not strange to us, but as familiar as the oxygen we breathe. Yet who notices oxygen? Not ‘till it’s gone, right?
So it takes searching and seeking. He’s the great Saviour, the loving Father, the wise Potter, the only God. If you will truly know God, then you have to seek him with intention: “It’s a new day, and I am going to draw near to the LORD.”
And even though God is not far from us, we need to see that it is purely an act of grace that He lets himself be found. God reveals himself to sinners. The LORD makes himself accessible to his people. It’s only through his mercy in Jesus that we can seek God and find him.
For there are, of course, many millions of people who have looked for God. The Lord has shown something of his glory and power in the creation “that people might reach out and find him” (Acts 17:27). The Bible says that He has even put a sense of eternity into human hearts—a sense that there is something bigger and more lasting than anything we experience here on earth. It’s for this reason that many cultures have crafted idols, and given names to their gods, and built shrines and temples. Understandable, but their idols are lifeless.
The point is, God cannot be found at any time, and in any way. But only when He desires to be found, and only when He shows himself. And here is our immense privilege: that we are allowed to know the living God, and not only know him, but to enjoy with him a living relationship of love.
We find God in his Word, where we get to know his character as our Saviour. We find God through prayer in Jesus’s name. We find God when we come to church and meet with him in holy worship. We find some of the richest blessings of God in our fellowship with other believers.
All these good gifts are freely available from God, like a feast awaiting our enjoyment.
But Jesus tells us that one day the doors will be closed. One day sinners will seek, and not find, because it will be too late. Or maybe you die tomorrow, and you haven’t yet used your life to seek God with your whole heart. That’s too late, too. Or maybe we keep living for many years, and enjoying our life to the full, but never get around to drawing near to God. That’s a missed opportunity, and it’s the worst mistake a person can make.
Do you stay where you are, or do you step forward? Do you seek God with faith in him and in his Son as Saviour? That is God’s will, that we all respond to what He has given us. As James says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you” (4:8).
So seek the LORD while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near!