Close to God; February 18, 2018

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God’s timing is very interesting, and perfect. I had no idea what I would be preaching on today when I made up this Scripture list, and I wasn’t thinking about what today’s passage was when I was preparing the sermon notes, but I’m preaching on Intimacy with God, and the song I chose for after the message is based on this verse. The thing is, God knows everything about us in advance, not that He’s micromanaging, but simply that He knows. Paul used the term “predestined” to apply to that, (Romans 8:29-30 and elsewhere) but that seems to be in contradiction to human free will. If we are totally predestined to do this, that, or the other, then we logically have no responsibility or guilt for doing it. The problem is one of human language and human intellect. Quantum physics deals with this sort of difficulty, but not too many people understand that either! We tend to over-think God, not because He’s simple, but because He’s beyond our intellect in the first place. That’s why Jesus said that we have to be like little children, accepting that there are things we can’t explain and being at peace with that. (Matthew 18:3) I’m not sure which theologian it was, perhaps Barth, but one of the great theologians of the 20th Century was asked what was the greatest truth he had found. He replied, “Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me so.” He had realized that Jesus’ words were true, and he had to accept God’s love as a little child. And all of that brings us back to this verse. If we as little children seek our Father, He’s going to let us find Him, to our mutual delight. As long as we think God is unknowable or impossibly distant, we aren’t going to seek Him. The Bible is full of the message that God is always right there, if we we will simply turn to Him.

I have had times in my life when God has seemed distant, but they have mercifully been few and brief. I actually have little empathy for those who are experiencing a “dark night of the soul,” though I do feel sorry for them. I do know believers who have come through such times greatly strengthened, but I’m very grateful not to have been taken down such a path myself. As a pastor and simply as a believer, I want everyone to realize how close God is to them, and turn and acknowledge Him as Lord, for their salvation and His glory. However, amazingly few really do that. Why that is, remains one of the most painful elements of my life. I want people to know the truth of God’s love and grace and so be set free from the devil’s traps, but if they refuse, I can’t force them.

Father, this is the struggle of my ministry, and my life. You have told me to rest, relax, and rejoice, but sometimes that gets difficult! Help me indeed yield each individual, along with myself, to You, and simply choose obedience to You as my own path, praying for others but leaving them in Your omnipotent hands. I ask Your grace and mercy on us all, so that as many as will may be saved, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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