Here’s something I’ve noticed: It’s cool to search for God, but uncool to find him. People talk about wanting to find spiritual reality and deeper meaning, about wanting to get in touch with God. The idea of looking for him sounds good—the search, the journey—but the reality of actually finding him is too much.
Here’s how it plays out: a person recognises that there is something missing in their life, or some issue that needs to be resolved. They may have tried many other avenues or none at all, but now they throw themselves at God. And they start to find out about God, and all goes well for a time. The information is interesting—but then comes a crashing realisation: God isn’t simply interested in getting my problems; He wants me!
At that point, they turn tail and run, run as hard as they’re worth—all the while proclaiming that they are searching for God. What they want isn’t God, but a magic genie, an Aladdin’s lamp to rub in a crisis, who will genially disappear when he isn’t needed. Or a sense of connectedness to something greater which bigs up our own sense of self-importance without ever challenging us with our smallness and wrongness.
It’s cool to search, but the last thing many want is to find the living God, or be found by him.
Maybe we need to ask people when they say they are looking for God, “What do you hope to find?” or “Are you ready to find him?”
People often want help and will listen to any advice as long as it doesn’t require admission of guilt or personal change. And that’s a shame because they run from one help system—be it counsellor, support group, friend—to another, always looking with their hands over their eyes for a solution that doesn’t require admission or effort.
But God won’t play that game precisely because he is God and not a genie. His very God-ness lies in the fact that he is in charge and calls the shots. He tells it as it is. Our problems are only a symptom of a deeper problem—us. And that’s what God is offering to fix.
In friendship our best friends call us out when we are wrong, correct us so that we don’t wreck our lives or hurt others—why would we want less from God?
This God is the God who will really help you. He doesn’t want simply your problems; he wants you. And if you seek him you will find him, for he is not far off; but we must seek him on his terms, not our own.
And that applies to Christians too—for we can be as guilty of this as others. We can love talking about our issues—as long as we don’t have to actually do anything about them. We unburden ourselves to those who will listen, maybe going round the same circle of three or four people, keeping moving so that they don’t get time to move beyond sympathy to advice, and then hold us accountable. It’s easier to search than it is to work at what God calls us to do.
Again we need to ask ourselves—”Do we really want to find God’s answer?”