Learning to Seek God
“So I say to you: keep asking, and it will be given you. Keep searching, and you will find, keep knocking, and the door will be opened for you, because everyone who keeps asking will receive, and the person who keeps searching will find, and the person who keeps knocking will have the door opened.” Luke 11:9-10.
We all want to be led by God, for there’s a beauty, assurance and peace that comes from being led. We sure would want to get it right. We want our prayers heard and answered. Just a word from God – a word of affirmation or a word pointing us in the right direction, will bring us so much more peace. This is good, for our desires drive us to the face of God but desire must be sustained. The Bible says, “…Those who seek will find.”
Many times, we tend to want to ask the will of God but sometimes, what we actually need is to seek the will of God. He says, “If you seek me, you will find me when you search for me with all your heart.” There is a difference between asking and seeking. He says, “Ask and you will be given, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” That is access. Asking gets you something, seeking allows you discover something, knocking gives you access into something.
You don’t just find something here, rather, you enter into it. That is the dimension of knocking on your ‘friend’s’ door until He opens; it is repeated. It is not the simple, light taping which is equal to asking. It is the persistent, insistent, pressing in until an obstacle is moved out of your way which is what a door is. It is an obstacle between where you are and where you want to be. That is what a door is. So when we knock, it will be opened and you begin to access the key of David. The key of David opens a door and it cannot be shut in your face anymore. So, God gives you a key.
We would like to ask God things, say like: “I want this” or “I want to marry…” and have Him immediately say, “Oh, this is the person you are to marry.” “This is where you are supposed to work.” “This is the church role you are called to carry out.” “This is the ministry assignment I am appointing you to.” “This is where you should go…”
Now, that answer would amount to “Ask and receive.” But what about when God wants you to seek?
In seeking, on the way to finding the spouse or the job, you find out that you are very lazy. During that 6-month period when you are at home without a job, the complaints that keep coming help you find out that you are quite lazy. You find out that you are quite hard-hearted because you watch your parents suffer and you do nothing to help, instead you eat without missing a meal. Or you find out that you need to polish your culinary abilities – that your food is not as tasty as you thought.
What happened was that during youth service, you were the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. So, you learnt how to cook. Or you found out how to preach to people better and lead them to the Lord. You found out how to teach people because you organised a Bible study in that 6-month period. You learnt things; you learnt some negative things and some positive things about yourself.
But, initially you wanted God to just quickly answer you. If things had gone your way, you would have said to God, “God, if you would just have told me: ‘Child, at the end of six months, you shall have a job! An application which you submitted four months before will be responded to’.’”
It didn’t happen that way though, God didn’t pre-inform you. So at the end of six months when everything begins to fall into place, you then say,
“God, why didn’t you just tell me? I would have focused more.”
To which God would say, “No. I don’t typically tell.” and you would likely respond,
“At least, my heart would have been at peace.”
Then, God would say, “You have to learn to be anxious for nothing.”
Now, you’ve also found out that you were a bit too anxious and have learnt to be at peace. In the future, when you apply for other things, you don’t get agitated that much, because you remember the lessons from that previous incident.
For everything in your life that you have to search for, in the process of searching, you find things other than what you were originally searching for. You are looking under a chair, sticking your hand into the sides of a cushion and you find missing pens, pencils and even money. You suddenly realise, “Oh, so this is what happened to that money everyone thought was stolen. This money fell between these seats and we accused someone in our minds, thinking it was the visitor who came that stole it.”
In the process of our finding things that we ask God for, we get to find so many treasures from Scriptures. If we are going to God in prayer, we find so many treasures of the closet, we get to know about God, get to know His heart. We may have learnt how to worship privately, how to fast and pray – something you hitherto hated and dreaded. Now, you began to fast and pray with ease because you wanted something. That is the power of seeking.
Seeking Changes Our Nature
Often, we’ve thought, “God did not answer me. I am not happy with God. Why doesn’t God just speak plainly” and God is saying, “How else will I draw you to me? How will allure you? I have to allow you go through things.” You may think it is not worth it, but it absolutely is.
Apart from finding compassion for those that are in need of consolation like you may need during this period of your life, when you act on these different things that happen to you on your journey to a certain goal, you are changed. Your mind is transformed, you think differently about people, events and things; you are more merciful towards people.
You used to boast that you could never stay at home even for a week and emphatically said people should not depend on their parents; now you are in that category! Other than this, you would have gone out of your parents’ house, achieved something – had a job, grown in the ranks and would have been totally unmerciful to struggling unemployed people. You would have used your platforms to devastate many a young person. But now, you have been changed – you no longer think like that – you are more merciful, more compassionate and you can comfort others with the comfort you’ve received. You can tell them boldly, “You know what? Don’t wait everyday looking at the mail. When it comes, you will know. Use that time and immediately start assisting, teaching and training people. Gather people, pursue things.” Now you are able to counsel them wisely because you have done what you should do. This is wisdom.
God is wise always. There is nothing we pass through that is not beneficial for us in the long run. As long as you love Him, He is going to use it to your benefit and to the benefit of others and the kingdom.
God’s Long-Term Goal
On the way to whatever we ask, never think it a waste of time. You would be shocked at what is needed to compel us or drive us. Some people need to think that someone died for them in order to get them to open their mouths and say, “God, please if you raise him from the dead, I am going to commit myself to serve you all my life.” Then, it turns out that the person didn’t even die at all. So many things are meant to happen in people’s lives before they bend. God knows this; so, He allows things to happen. His methods can last 5, 10, 20 or even more years. Only God can do things on that scale. We humans go for short-term, ‘five-minute’ versions where we talk, we shout, we compel and try to convince. However, if you allowed God’s method, it would be shaped differently.
Remember, He knows the end from the beginning. Many times, He starts far ahead so by the time the thing pops up, you may think it just happened, but no, God had calculated, timed it and had seen how long it would take to convince you hard-headed fellow to comply. The work had started on you since – months and years before.
God’s goal? Oh, He said, “How long will it take him to yield? When will his internal state be changed? Remember, ‘Clean the inside and the outside will be clean also.’ It will take 8 months. Oh, okay, we had better begin. ” Then, your training starts. God has the strength of heart to do this. In the long run, it all turns out for good. Our experiences, both good and bad, all work out for our own good, for “…all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purposes.”
None of our experiences are a waste. They are both tools and weapons – tools for fashioning and shaping us into who God has called us to be, and weapons for fighting future battles more effectively.
Therefore beloved, march gallantly through your “dry seasons”; it’s all training. While you are at it, “Keep searching, keep knocking; for everyone who searches, finds, and to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
God bless you.
©God’s Lighthouse 2020.