The Search for God: A Journey That Never Ends
Everyone is a searcher. Not everyone knows it. Humans eat, sleep, mate, work – and they search. In fact, they search while they are eating, sleeping, mating, and working.
Those who know they are searching say things like, “I’m searching for peace.” Or “I am looking for excitement” (or friendship, or love, or purpose, or glory). Yet whenever people find what they are looking for – find friendship or love or glory – they go right on searching; they don’t stop.
That’s because their quest is part of a more comprehensive search on which humans have embarked: the search for God. People may deny that they are searching for God, either because they do not believe God exists, or because they do not care. They may also deny that they are searching for God because they may believe they have already found him.
One finds the latter kind of people in churches. They’ve stopped searching for God because they have found him. They have had a spiritual encounter or have responded to an invitation to receive Christ into their life. But it does not follow that their search has been completed.
350 years ago, a shipload of pilgrims landed on America’s northeast coast. In their first year there they built houses and streets and established a town. In the second year they elected a town government. In the third year the town government voted to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness.
In the fourth year, angered by the waste of public funds, the townspeople tried to impeach their government. Why build a road into the wilderness? They were already in the new land – why would anyone want to go further?
For someone to say that they have found God because they had a conversion or other spiritual experience is like those pilgrims saying they had found America because they had seen a few miles of the east coast. Yes, they had found America, but there was so much more for them to discover – Niagara Falls, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the Rockies, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite and on and on. And there is so much more of God to be discovered – cataracts of grace, mountains of joy, and rivers of peace.
Our spiritual journey is like the voyage those pilgrims took as they sailed the vast waters between England and America. Welcoming Christ into one’s life is like bringing the captain aboard ship: someone who knows what to do is now in command. But that does not mean that we have arrived at our destination. The search continues.
Some people deny that they have ever searched for God. For answers, yes – and for meaning, for excitement, and for love – but not for God. Or so they think.
C. S. Lewis, the brilliant atheist who became a Christian, once wrote: “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven” – or we might substitute God – “at all, but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.” The desires for beauty, pleasure, and even power all derive from the primeval desire, shared by all humans, for God.
God is the human heart’s deepest longing. The desire for him is bred in our bones. It is him, whether we know it or not, that we’ve been seeking all our lives, from birth to death, day in and day out, year after year. We thought we found what we were looking for in our hobbies, in the smell of a pine wood or in the slap of water on a rocky shore. But these things were not it. We thought we had found it in the music we loved or in our truest romance.
St. Paul told the intellectual crowd in Athens that God made the world the way he did so that people “would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” The universe is a put-up job. The cosmos was intentionally designed to turn us into God-seekers.
And not just seekers, but also finders.
Once again, you have blessed my wife and me with your insights.
R.C. Sproul said that our greatest goal is to strive to know God.
Of course, we never will fully comprehend, until we see Him on that blessed day.
Thank you so much…
Thank you, Larry. And “even so, Lord Jesus, come!”