There is an ancient tale from India about a young man who was seeking God. He finally went to a wise old sage and asked him how he could find God. The old man told the younger man to follow him, and he took him to a nearby river. Removing their shoes, the two men waded out into the river until the water came up to their shoulders.
Suddenly, the old man grabbed the young man by the neck and shoved his head under the water. He held the young man, who was now fighting desperately, under the water for several seconds. Finally, the old man turned the young man loose and walked back to the bank of the river.
The young man asked indignantly, “Why did you do that?” In response, the old man asked him, “While you were under the water, what did you want more than anything else in all the world?” The young man pondered for a moment and then answered, “I wanted air; I wanted air more than anything else.” To that the old man replied, “When you want God as much as you wanted air, you will find Him.”
God said in Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” How important is it for us to find God? Do we put all of our efforts into finding Him? Do we really want to find God more than anything else in all the world? Finding God should be our top priority.
David wrote in Psalm 63:1, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” David told his son, Solomon, to serve God with a loyal heart and a willing mind (I Chronicles 28:9). He said that God knows our hearts and our motives. Then he added, “If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.” God will not force anyone to obey Him. He gives us the choice. But, of course, there are consequences for not obeying Him.
How important is God to us? Is finding God more important to us than finding water in a desert? Are we really looking for Him? Or do we, like Adam and Eve, try to hide from God because of our sins? God knows that we are all sinners, but He loves us anyway. Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God is not willing that any of us should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). If we are willing to repent and obey God, we can find Him and have an eternal home with Him in heaven.
In Isaiah 55:6-7, we read, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” God warns us not to wait too long. Sin drives us farther and farther away from God, and if we wait too long, it will be too late.
Sin hardens our hearts. Some people allow their hearts to become so hardened by sin that it becomes impossible for them to turn away from their sin. In 2 Peter 2:14, Peter speaks of people “having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin.” The inspired Peter says that they cannot cease from sin. They have actually gone so far, they cannot stop. How tragic it would be to be in such a condition!
Jesus promises those who hunger and thirst for righteousness that they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). If we really want something, we set our minds to it, and we go after it until we get it. How badly do you want to find God? I would love to help you!
Steve Lay is the evangelist for the Chouteau Hills Church of Christ.