“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14)
What does it look like to seek God with all your heart?
The Hebrew word for seeking used here is darash, which means “to pursue or hunt for earnestly.” It is used in the Bible for intently seeking a lost sheep or animal, for pursuing a missed lover, and for industriously seeking your way home. It is also used for seeking God earnestly. The dictionary tells us that the definition of the word earnestly is “serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous.”
Author Glaphre Gilliland was blind and confined to her bed most of her life. In this dark captivity, she writes that she learned the deepest lesson of faith. “We tend to use God instead of seek Him. We want God to do our bidding more than we want Him.”
In this season of reflection, I apply this to my own life. I often ask God to help people, or to let us get back to church, or to come into such-and-such place in such-and-such way. I ask for his wisdom to be in my mind, and his health to be in my relationships and body. None of these are bad things. But are they the CORE things?
Perhaps I should first start with the biggest need: Am I asking God to make me hungry for him? Do I have serious intention when I seek God? Or is my pursuit of him earnest, or is it just casual, haphazard, and random? Am I serious in purpose, or am I aimless and adrift?
My guess is that if I indeed want to find him in my seeking, it will depend a good bit on the earnestness of my seeking. In this pandemic, so many distractions have been removed. So many things “I just had to do” are not available. It seems I have a chance for a reset. In The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer writes:
When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking “God-and” effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the “and” lies our great woe. If we omit the “and” we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.
Lord, expose to us our “God-and” prayers, and draw us to your heart. We desire to desire you. Nothing more. And nothing less. Amen.