Posted: 20 Aug 2009 06:48 AM PDT
How many times have you heard Christians say (or heard the words from your own mouth), “So-and-so is not a Christian but he’s searching”? It is a common statement among Christians. The idea is that there are people all over the place who are searching for God. Their problem is that they just haven’t been able to find Him. He is playing hide-and-seek. He is elusive.
In the Garden of Eden, when sin came into the world, who hid? Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost. Jesus wasn’t the one who was hiding. God is not a fugitive. We are the ones on the run. Scripture declares that the wicked flee when no man pursues. As Martin Luther remarked: “The pagan trembles at the rustling of a leaf. The uniform teaching of Scripture is that fallen men are fleeing from God.”
People do not seek God. They seek after the benefits that only God can give them. The sin of fallen man is this: Man seeks the benefits of God while fleeing from God Himself. We are, by nature, fugitives.
The Bible tells us repeatedly to seek after God. The conclusion we draw from these texts is that since we are called to seek after God it must mean that we, even in our fallen state, have the moral capacity to do that seeking. But who is being addressed in these texts? In the case of the Old Testament, it is the people of Israel who are called to seek the Lord. In the , it is believers who are called to seek the kingdom.
: Are you seeking the benefits God can give you or seeking after God alone?
Isaiah 55:6: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.”
Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
As we read in Daniel 3:15–16, the three Hebrew men went into the fire with their bodies already dead to the world. They were able to offer their bodies joyfully, as living sacrifices. And Jesus literally met them in their crisis!
What do you think they said to Jesus when he showed up in the furnace? “Thank you for not letting us feel the pain. Thank you for giving us another chance—for a few more years!”
No—never! I believe they said, “Lord, take us with you! Don’t leave us here. We have touched the ecstasy, the glory—and we don’t want to go back! Walk us home to be with you.” They would have preferred to be with him! Jesus knows this kind of heart—and it is to such that he commits himself.
Are you able to say, “Lord, walk me home”? Perhaps you’ve never learned to commit your body, your business, your marriage, your crisis into God’s hands. Yes, we are always to pray in faith, believing that God will answer; yet we are to trust him completely with our situation, saying in our hearts, “But if not, Lord—I’m still going to trust you!”
“Lord, you are able to deliver me from this fiery furnace. But if not, I will still believe! Even if I have to go on in this horrible trial—if I have to face more suffering, more testing—I commit everything to you. Just come and walk through it with me!” Can you pray this prayer?
I promise you—Jesus Christ will come into your crisis. He will take you by your hand and lead you through the fire!
I consider the coming of Christ into my crisis to be the greatest possible answer to prayer, because when he comes, his presence lifts me above all my pain, all my hurt, all my confusion. When Jesus appears at your side, he takes you by the hand and makes you stand strong.
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the ,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.