By: Beth Doohan
“‘You will seek Me and find me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 29:13-14a
“Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near.” ~ Isaiah 55:6
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My family and I recently went on vacation to the North Shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. It was our son Hunter’s first road trip and also a celebration of my husband’s and my fifth anniversary. We drove in a rented RV and stayed at two different state parks during our trip. As we spent our days touring scenic views, hiking near waterfalls, and visiting historic lighthouses, I felt a refreshing and closeness to my family and to God through time spent in relaxation together.
One night on our trip, I sat on the Lake Superior beach at dusk and was moved into silence at the beauty before my eyes. Stones of various hues lay scattered over the beach. Trees lined the shore silhouetted by the setting sun, leaving the sky a deep blue with hints of pink. The freshwater waves lapped against the shore in a calming, serene undertone. In the stillness of that beach, I thought, “God is here.”
Now, it is important to note that my family and I spend time together frequently. I am privileged to stay home with my son, and my husband spends time with us in the evenings and on his days off. But the time we had on this trip was free from distraction, and we had set out with the intention not just of having fun but of being together. We had intentionally set aside work and other distractions to enjoy each other’s company and the beauty of nature. In essence, we had sought each other, and were found.
It is the same with the Lord. He is always here, always near to us when we call on Him. But God is a gentleman and will not push His way into our lives. He asks us to seek Him, to draw near to Him, and promises that when we do, He will be found by us. In Isaiah 65:1, we see God’s heart calling to us, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for Me. I said ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on My name.”
Through the difficulties of life, we can find ourselves asking, “Where is God in this?” Circumstances can seem out of control, relationships can be hurtful or overwhelming, disease and accidents can leave us feeling vulnerable and confused, delayed hopes and dreams can bring disappointment or frustration, or just plain busyness can distract us from what is most important.
Wholehearted women, can I just encourage you that God sees you? No matter what you are going through, what obstacles you may be facing, or what dreams you are waiting on the Lord to fulfill, He sees you and simply asks you to seek Him. That is an amazing concept. The God of the universe who created your heart knows you, loves you, and longs for you to come to Him with your whole heart.
“They earnestly sought after God…”
In the Old Testament, we see a lengthy account of king after king who either did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, or who chose what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord. Because of sin, the nations of Israel and Judah often faced hardship, war with their enemies, and disapproval from the Lord. However, when the people repented and turned to the Lord, God’s unfailing love and forgiveness was extended to them time and time again.
The Bible tells us that King Asa was a good king of Judah, who did what pleased the Lord. As king, he faced great opposition by enemy nations, but he chose to rely on the Lord. Azariah the prophet came to King Asa with this word of encouragement, “The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with Him! Whenever you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you… whenever they (Israel) were in trouble and turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought Him out, they found Him” (II Chronicles 15:2-4, italics added).
At these words, King Asa took courage and swept the land of pagan idols, repaired the altar of God outside the temple, and called the people together for a special sacrifice unto the Lord. While gathered, King Asa and the people “entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul… All in Judah were happy about this covenant, for they had entered into it with all their heart. They earnestly sought after God, and they found Him” (II Chronicles 15:12, 14). After this, the Lord brought peace to the land of Judah and gave King Asa and his people rest from their enemies.
You see, God had not abandoned the people of Judah. He saw their needs, dire circumstances, and neighboring conflict. Yet He asked them to seek Him in order to find relief, healing, and peace from their enemies. As soon as they sought the Lord, He met them where they were at and brought them victory, peace, and joy.
Isaiah 55:6 tells us to “seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near.” But the question remains: just how do we seek the Lord? The answer lies in Jeremiah 29:13, where God promises, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” God asks us to come to Him with open hearts, inviting Him into all parts of our lives so He can perform His work. Nothing is too big or too small for us to bring before Him.
“As surely as the arrival of dawn…”
As a mother of an infant, I am challenged daily to lean on God for wisdom in my parenting. Should he be nursed to sleep or lie in the crib? Should I discipline Him or give a verbal correction when he disobeys? What time should he go to bed? These are all small decisions that I need to make as a mother, and could easily make in my own strength. But as a daughter of the King, I want to bring these things before the Lord and say, “God, what do You desire me to do? What will best help my son and help me as his mother?” I want to involve God in the big and little things in my life in order to experience His best and bring Him glory. So I seek His face, and because of this, I find Him.
If you have been avoiding time with God, feeling hurt and confused by your situation, or simply have not considered asking Him for wisdom about an area of your life, I encourage you to choose today to seek after Him. He longs to connect with you deeply and to show you His wisdom and grace in whatever you may be facing.
If you find yourself asking “Where is God in this situation,” know that He is HERE! He sees you, right where you are at, and He cares deeply about your heart and circumstances. Invite Him in today by spending time with Him through His Word, intimate prayer, and worship. Hosea 6:3 promises that when we come close to God, “He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” As we draw near to our heavenly Father, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).
One of Jenni’s and my favorite Scripture passages is found in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” This deeply personal passage invites God to speak to our hearts and show us His way for us. Praying this prayer of humility and surrender brings honor to God and allows Him to draw near. Wholehearted women, let us commit today to bringing our whole selves before the Lord, seeking His ways and the closeness He offers, and opening our hearts for Him to speak. And as Jeremiah 29 promises, when we do, He will be found by us!
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