So you can come along

A girl with stories

On Seeking and Finding September 19, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda Lynn @ 12:28 am

What is it like to truly experience God’s nearness? What’s it like for us to know His presence?

Is there a list of appropriate experiences or outward reactions to determine if our nearness to God is real? And what do we do if, “Draw near to him and he’ll draw near to you” seems to be hollow or for other people with better spiritual resumes? What if there seems to be His presence and intimate communion with Him at one time and then a deep valley of seeming isolation the next?

These are the questions my heart was asking in a difficult season.

This unchangeable, ever-constant God who does not shift or suffer like me from my human fickle heart-wandering, sometimes…does He hide His face?

Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!
:: Isaiah 45:15 ::
He is, El Mistater Hebrew for the God who hides Himself.

And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him.

:: Isaiah 8:17 ::

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

:: Jeremiah 29:13 ::

From there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him,

if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.

:: Deuteronomy 4:29 ::

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

:: Matthew 7:7 ::

 

 

In the story of God’s chosen people in 2 Chronicles 24:20 Joash is King in Judah. The people are worshiping sex goddesses and refusing to give it up even though God sends prophets to warm them. These prophets of God say to the people, “Why have you deliberately walked away from God’s commandments? You can’t be blessed this way! You abandoned God and now He has abandoned you.” And then God allowed another nation to demolish the kingdom of Joash.

 

 

Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,

and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

:: Isaiah 59:2 ::

And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be,

for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.

:: Jeremiah 32:20 ::

“Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they will be consumed, and many evils and troubles will come upon them; so that they will say in that day, ‘Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?’ “But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods.

:: Deuteronomy 31:17-18 ::

Then they will cry out to the LORD, But He will not answer them Instead, He will hide His face from them
at that time Because they have practiced evil deeds.
:: Micah 3:4 ::

“The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”‘

:: Ezekiel 39:23-24 ::

OVER AND OVER AND OVER….sin unrepentant forms a wedge in the covenant between God and people. He hides his face. These are not verses we’d like embroidered on pillows or printed on coffee mugs. And yet, there they are.
Then, Jesus comes and demolishes the curse of sin and, in His grace, He clothes us in righteousness through faith, sends His Spirit to be with us always. So is the hiding and the seeking of God over? Is He no longer the “God who hides Himself” as Isaiah says?

hide and seek
I will never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
:: Hebrews 13:5 ::

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

:: Matthew 28:20 ::

And I will not hide my face anymore from them,

when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel,

declares the Lord GOD.”
 :: Ezekiel 39:29 ::

With God being ever and always present everywhere, the “hiding of God’s face” refers not to His desertion or absence, but to this withdrawal of His conscious presence and the need to discover new facets of His character. So, it may not always be my sin hindering me from experiencing God’s presence (Although, it’s always good for His grace to sift through and let conviction bring repentance). His character is so cavernous that to know in new ways the depth, length, width and height of it, might feel like our familiar God is not there at all.
Really, I’m just like a kid looking at a few inches of Monet’s “Water Lilies” at a time. Just as I get used to one spot, things shift, and I think the painting is gone altogether. I’m missing the new view in my frantic obsession with finding that familiar spot.
small monet
monet

“Turn it and turn it for everything is in it. Look deeply into it, and do not stir from it,

because there is no greater portion.”

:: Rabbi Ben Bag Bag::

(For real, that’s his name! I picture a hobbit rabbi.)

 

Here, the Rabbi speaks of scripture – of the word. As John’s gospel says, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us {John 1}”. Jesus, the Living Word, is rich in complexity. He is the “radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature. {Hebrews 1}”. Paralleling this thought, Paul says to the church in Colossi “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God. {Colossians 1}”   We see in season and out of season that God is the same-Jesus is the same and as He is so multifaceted and unsearchable in our learning a new part of His character it may seem He is hiding his face from us.

 

 

Come near to the holy men and women of the past —  and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God.

They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out,

and when they had found Him —the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking.

:: A. W. Tozer ::

The secret of “simple intention” is that it is content to seek God and does not insist on finding Him right away,

knowing that in seeking Him it has already found Him.

:: Thomas Merton ::

I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer.
:: C.S. Lewis ::
To find ourselves knowing Him more – discovering more of who He is – is worth all our seeking.
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