Friday, September 22, 2017

Finding God .......... Parables 644

July 13, 1999

Remember the mystics who climbed a pole and sat there for weeks hoping to find God? Or remember a Christian bumper sticker that proclaimed “I found it” meaning they found God? The stickers did not imply climbing a pole. What did they do to find God?

Some assume God is lost but that cannot be. The problem is that God is spirit. We cannot perceive Him with our physical eyes. We have a blind spot to His reality. Since is God invisible, looking for Him is a perplexity. In the first place, how can anyone know He is real? Could God be a figment of the imagination?

Certainly, the pagans made up gods. For every phenomena they observed and all the forces they could not control, they named a deity. The sun gods controlled the seasons. Fertility gods controlled their crops and childbirth. Other gods controlled the weather or circumstances. Some say the ancient Jews fabricated their idea of one God in the same way. They did not understand lightning storms and mold on their bread so invented a greater power to explain their mysteries.

I am convinced pagan gods are imaginary. I am equally convinced that the God of the Jews is real. Why am I so certain? How did I find God?

One fall afternoon over twenty-five years ago, I sat in my living room with my nose in a book about pagan gods and gods from outer space. I came across a verse from the Bible. As I read it, suddenly the room seemed brighter. At once, I knew God existed. I also knew that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. The book did not say it. No one told me. I simply knew.

I knew too that Jesus died for my sins, was buried but is now alive. I also knew that I needed to surrender my life to Him. From that point on, He began to change me.

Later, I realized that the God of the Jews makes Himself known by “revelation.” We do not find Him but He reaches out to us. He gets our attention by speaking to us: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.”

As that verse suggests, God speaks several ways. First, His “word” to the Jewish prophets is recorded in the Bible for people to read. Second, His “word” took on human nature and became a man for people to hear, see and touch. People can find God through His “word.”

I know now that a book about pagan gods did not show me the true God. Rather, He revealed Himself to me through that one verse of Scripture from His Word. As Isaiah 65:1 says, “I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek Me.”

After learning all this, I also know that finding God is not a passive activity. We do not sit waiting for a bolt of light from heaven. Instead, Scripture paradoxically says that we will find God “when we seek Him with our whole heart.”

A “whole heart” implies complete openness, nothing held back, no intention of resisting Him in any way. This is very important for those who search for God. He resists and holds Himself back from the proud but He gives grace and truth to those who humbly yield to Him.

This is because a proud person cannot understand the gospel message. We need to yield. It was after the Apostle Paul fell on His knees before Christ, that the “mystery of salvation by grace was revealed to him” by God. Without humility, God’s revelation seems incomprehensible and even foolish to us. We cannot see the revelation.

Each person may have a different experience of finding God, yet everyone who does find Him knows both the value of humility and of His revelation. We know that unless He had revealed Himself, we would still be in the dark.

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