I have found God but I know there is more of him to know and find. I see very dimly but I know there is more light by which to see. I have experienced something of God’s presence but I know I am just dipping the tip of my toe into an ocean. Every experience I have just increases my desire for more.
I want others to know God too. Not just in theory, but in practice. My words only take them so far. We don’t just need educating about God, we need an encounter with God.
It seems to me that God promises that we can find him, encounter him, and meet him. He will not always remain hidden behind a veil, out of sight.
29 …you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29 (ESV)
13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you… Jeremiah 29:13–14 (ESV)
What does “with all your heart” mean? What is wholeheartedness? A dictionary definition is “undivided commitment or unreserved enthusiasm”. It is the first and greatest commandment. Love God with “all your heart”. Can I do that? But can I really seek God with my whole heart? My search for him is often cut short, or starts determined but then fades off. My enthusiasm wavers. These promises, though, cannot be making God impossible to find, pricing God’s presence out of the market. It must be possible. People in the bible pray for it:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
The word translated clean can also mean “pure” and the word translated “right” can also mean “determined, fixed, steadfast”. It’s a prayer for wholeheartedness I think.
Interestingly, the next verse is “do not cast me away from your presence”. And then a desire for joy. And as I pull back, the whole psalm is about being made clean and cleansed from sin so that God can be served and enjoyed.
The good news is I have been made clean by Jesus’ sacrifice. I am acceptable to God through faith in Jesus and his wholehearted obedience.
In any case, the amazing thing is that God sought me out even when I was dead set against finding him. He goes after the lost coin and sheep. He chases and pursues us with his love. So God chases us but he also wants us to pursue him. To seek him out.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you… James 4:8 (ESV)
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4 (ESV)
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)
How do we do that? I guess the obvious answers are faith in Jesus, prayer, worship, reading the bible. But listed like that they seem mechanical and dry. It involves crying out to him, even with tears, desperation. Stepping into the dark places were he wants to bring his light. Leaving other things behind. Time.
In one sense his presence is easily accessible. Through faith in Jesus our high priest we have immediate and free access to the throne room of God. In another it needs to be diligently and passionately pursed. If someone gives me the key to their house it is easy to get close to them physically. But to get close relationally takes time.