“But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I dot not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” – Job 23:8-9
This passage in Job shows us there are times when, no matter which direction we go, we cannot find God or understand what He is doing. For some reason, there are times when He chooses to be elusive, evasive and evanescent. He answers to no one and refuses to ask permission to be Himself. Search for Him all you want, but if He chooses to hide Himself, there is no way to find Him.
At other times, no matter which way we go to get away from God, He is there (Ps. 139:7-10). Even in my darkest moments, I find God is with me, for darkness is as light to Him (Ps. 139: 12). Or, as Plato is quoted saying, “Light is the shadow of God.” God is everywhere, and there is no way to escape Him.
What challenges me is the fact that I cannot pin God down. If I try to flee from God, He pursues me. If I try to find Him, He remains hidden. However, if I humbly answer His gentle knock (Rev. 3:20), He is always available for a conversation over coffee and a donut. Or a bagel, if you prefer. (A kosher, fat-free, no animals harmed in the making of this product kind of bagel. We wouldn’t want to upset anyone).
It gives me hope to know that my continuing relationship with God does not reside in knowing where God is, but in being sure God knows where I am. And God always knows where I am even when I don’t, which was why He asked a hiding Adam, “Where are you?” (Gen. 3:9). As I understand it, God didn’t lose Adam; Adam lost Adam. God knew where Adam was even if Adam didn’t quite know where he was at or what was going on, for disorientation and a tendency to hide from God are the natural results of sin and disobedience. But I’ll save that thought for another article. The purpose of “finding” God is to complete the circle of God finding us.
Then I started to wonder: Is it really that hard to find God, or do I just have difficulty finding things about God I will agree with, areas I’ll align my life with and directives I’ll obey? Or, upon finding Him, will I not like the answer I’ll get when, like Job, I finally hear Him speak (see Job, chapters 38-41)?
Those are good questions, and I’ll admit that I don’t always like the answers. Furthermore, I’ll admit that I don’t have all the answers. Sometimes I find God in the most interesting places and situations, and sometimes Gods find me in the most interesting places and situations. Is God hard to find? According to Job (and some of my recent experiences), sometimes He is. Is God pursuing you and me? According to David and the entire New Testament, He is. However, in spite of who is after who, I know that the desired result is a life that is pure, unmixed with contradictions, valuable and eternal.
So, which way is God? To the skeptic He is nowhere, but to the faithful, He is everywhere. Perhaps this is a good time to just be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10).
Previously posted June, ’09