Many people want to find God- they just don’t know where to look. They look in churches, in nature, in people, and a vast selection of other avenues. But many still seem to be as far away from God as they were when they first started searching for him. So where is he?
Well first off, God finds us, we don’t find him. That deep longing in your soul to find God was not created by you, but planted by God himself. We do have some power in this search, however. In order for us to be led by God, we have to be open to his voice. Often times though, we want to follow our own voice and not God’s. Following a voice that is holy forces you to change. You cannot find God and stay the same person you are, and that’s what we don’t like. The main reason we don’t find God is not because God isn’t revealing enough of himself, it’s because we’re not willing to let go of “me”.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:3-6) As you read through the Sermon on the Mount, it’s easy to feel confused and believe that you have to be miserable and unhappy to receive God. The reason Jesus picks the lowest of society to bless throughout the Gospels is that he knows they are the most humble. They know they have nothing to lose and give themselves to him with all their hearts. When Jesus tells them to follow him, they drop everything and never turn back. This is not to say that God wants us to be miserable and unhappy. It just means that the more comfortable we are in our lives, the harder it is to follow God’s voice. We know following him comes with a cost, and we’d rather stay underneath our security blanket than trust him.
Fewer people may be finding God in the modern age, but I don’t believe it’s because fewer people are looking. The main source of the problem is not where or how often we look, but how we’re doing it. We know that there are microorganisms around us all the time, but how many have you seen with the naked eye? None. It takes a special type of lens to see them, just as it takes a special type of lens to see God. Most of us do not search for God out of pure gratitude for our lives and to serve him. We seek him with the hope that he can offer us what we’re missing or needing, instead of thinking about what we can offer him.
God does not actually need anything from us. It’s common to have a view of God as selfish, who created us specifically to serve his needs. But he already had everything he needed within himself. God created us to share in his love with the hope that we may experience the love and joy he was already experiencing. The problem is our selfishness gets in the way of that love. The reason he wants us to focus on serving him is not for his benefit, but ours. God created us with the desire for his love at the core of our being, knowing that it will never fail us or neglect us. The deep longing in your heart can only be filled with his love, yet we try to fill it with earthly things that do fail us and do neglect us.
The essence of love is caring about someone else and putting their needs in front of your own. How can we expect to be in a relationship with a God of love if all of our focus is on ourselves? God requires love and humility for a relationship with him. We keep trying to fill our flashlights with the wrong type of batteries and wonder why the flashlight isn’t working. God will never be revealed when we’re using a flashlight filled with selfishness and pride to look for him. Only by turning our attention away from ourselves and towards God can we receive the gifts that he is offering us.
Too often we set out searching for God specifically to get something from him and are not interested in anything else he has to offer. And then we wonder why we can’t find him…Try developing a relationship with someone after telling them you’re only interested in their money. How fruitful do you think that relationship will be? We are human, however, and it is impossible to come to God without having any thoughts of ourselves. He understands that. But you have to be willing to grow in him and die to yourself in the process, or you’ll never find what you’re looking for.
God wants us to have a relationship with him and like any relationship, things take time. We expect to only have to put in a few hours of work. Suddenly, everything is supposed to be revealed to us, and our life instantly transformed. A relationship with God works like any other relationship. It takes time, commitment, pain, happiness, and trust. He reveals little pieces and parts of himself to us as we mature in a relationship with him. The less of yourself you bring to the table, the closer you are to him and the easier it is to hear his voice.
But unlike our human relationships, God’s love is unconditional. He loves you through the good and the bad, no matter what you do. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get upset like any loving spouse would do when the husband or wife are doing things that hurt the relationship and push each other apart. It just means that only you have the power to close the door on God. He’ll never close the door on you. Don’t we all want a relationship like that? Where we know we can be ourselves and know our spouse will forgive us no matter how many times we screw up or let them down? Then why are we so afraid to let God into our hearts?
Be patient in your search for God. He sometimes comes to us when we least expect it. And when we does, we usually find that he was there all along, and we were simply looking for him through the wrong lens. The more we look for God instead of a way to fix us, the closer we are to finding him.