The best games of hide-n-seek are always played when mom and dad are away and the kids have the run of the house–literally. No one to stop you from scaling the stairs to get to home base safely or to tell you to slow down when you’re dashing from one hiding place to another as “It” goes from room to room to find you.
This particular night I was playing with my little brother who was 11 and my sisters who were 7 and 6. Rachel, the youngest, was “It”. To make sure she counted right we would set the timer on the oven, tell her to wait in dad’s recliner until it beeped, and then come upstairs and find us.
After playing several rounds the hiding spots were getting harder to find and as I went from one place to another trying to find somewhere she wouldn’t look I discovered I was out of time. The timer was beeping and Rachel was coming. Quickly I climbed onto the bathroom counter and sat there in the dark. No doubt she would find me but hey, at least it was worth the shot.
I heard her open the hall closet and look. Nothing. I heard her go into the first bedroom. Nothing. I held my breath. Logically, she would come into the bathroom next as it was the next room in the hallway. In she walked. And would you believe it–she walked straight to the shower, looked behind the curtain–and then turned around and walked right back out of the bathroom without even noticing me! I was the last of the three to be found that round and as I sat there on the counter waiting for her to come find me it occurred to me: how much is this like God?
He is always with us and yet sometimes, because we so expect Him to be in the places we suppose He ought to be, we fail to see Him right in front of us.
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In Jeremiah 29:13 we read, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Now, while we know that the Bible was written to specific people it was also written for all of mankind to come. Therefore, the promises given were not only for those present when written but also for us today. If we seek Him with all of our being we will find Him.
I remember I struggled with this concept for many years because I kept hearing the phrase “seek God’ when I would pray for direction but I never fully understood what it meant. One night before church many years ago I knelt down and prayed in my mind, “God, I need direction tonight. I don’t know what you want me to do with my life and I don’t know what next step to take. Please show me.” As the evangelist, Bro. Don Stewart, closed the service and gave the invitation to pray at the altar he said, “I don’t know who this is for but feel like God is telling me to say this. Someone here has asked God for direction tonight and this is what He wants you to know: seek Him and His will will come to pass.”
About a year later I found myself alone at my church one night praying, asking God again, “God, where would you have me to go now? What do you want me to do in this stage of my life?” As the night wore on and as I prayed I felt an urge to grab my Bible and turn to Jeremiah 29. I brushed it off because I’m not a big fan of opening the Bible and assuming God is speaking from wherever we turn to (imagine being depressed and opening the Bible to where Judas kills himself!) After about 20 minutes of trying to push the thought out of my mind to read this particular chapter of the BIble I finally gave in and read it; “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Another year or so went by and I found myself wondering again, what’s next? What will I do once I graduate from college? I had attended a live webinar class one afternoon and my professor, B.J. Wilmoth, had taught on the topic of seeking God. As I cleaned later that night it kept running through my mind, “What does it mean to seek God? Pray? Read the Bible? Live Holy? What does seeking God really mean?” So I emailed him and asked him what his opinion was on what that really meant. I never got an email back from him that night but about an hour later as I was listening to a sermon by Rev. Carl Ballestero on Holy Ghost Radio I heard him preaching scriptures about seeking God. And no joke he said, “And some people might wonder what it means to seek God. Well, I’ll tell you what it means to seek God. It means to want Him more than anything else in your life.”
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So are we truly seeking God?
-Asa and the people of Judah sought God in a time of rest (II Chronicles 14); is God still front and center when things are at their best?
-David sought the Lord amidst his fears (Psalm 34); is He still our focus when things are at their worst? Do we see Him even when the shadows overwhelm us?
-The apostles sought God during a time of waiting (Acts 1); do we desire God more than anything in periods of waiting? Do we still see His hands on our lives when we don’t understand His timing?
Just like Rachel had assumed that if someone was hiding in the bathroom they would be behind the shower curtain, we tend to think that if God is anywhere near our lives He must be where we expect Him to be–blessing us, protecting us from any bad thing in life, giving us our wants (in addition to our needs). This isn’t always the case, though. Life happens. We live in a fallen world. Chaos may surround us but it doesn’t mean God is not beside us. God may not be where we want Him to be but He is exactly where we need Him to be.
Will we continue to seek Him when He isn’t where we think He should be? When so many things happen and our eyes get off of our blessings, do we still want God more than anything? When we have all that we think we could ever want, is God still #1 on that list of desires? When we are struggling and fighting spiritual battles and don’t understand His ways, is He still the first and foremost thing we want?
Are we truly seeking God?
If not, what is stopping us? Remember He said, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” He’s waiting. It’s never too late to look again.