“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
“Call to Me and I will answer you…” (Jeremiah 33:3)
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Isaiah 40:31)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
The verses flashed into my mind, one by one. And so I sat, and I waited, and I prayed, and I cried, and I sought, and I tried so desperately to attain that peace of God in the midst of my tumultuous thoughts and raging emotions…
Nothing. Nothing happened.
I didn’t know what to do. I tried harder. I asked God to let me feel His arms around me. I asked Him to show up in my room and then turned around, half expecting Him, in all His glory, to be standing before me. I made deals with Him. I asked Him to please, please, please speak to me. I asked Him to direct me to the right place in the Bible. I landed in Psalm 81. Verse 7 jumped out:
“In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud…”
I pushed the curtains aside to look out my window. Bright and sunny as it could be with several happy white clouds floating around. I stared them down, and willed them to turn gray.
Still, nothing happened.
“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO ALREADY BE HERE, SO WHY CAN’T I FEEL YOU??!” I pressed those words into my journal as if the pressure of my pen would elicit a quicker or louder response from God.
I asked all kinds of questions. What was I doing wrong? Am I the problem? Is there something wrong with me? My doubts? My fears? Do I need to be more persistent? I felt frustrated, deserted, empty, helpless, desperate… Finally, I decided to fast for lunch, got down on my knees, and told God that He had until 2pm to do something. Anything.
I spent the next two hours listening to sermons and reading about what others had to say about seeking God. Nothing miraculous happened that day, but as I calmed down, stopped trying so hard to physically feel His presence, and started to just talk to Him with a clearer head, I began to feel better.
Although we like to draw parallels between our relationship with God and our interactions with fellow human beings, the honest truth is that having a relationship with a metaphysical being can be challenging. It’s hard enough to pull off a long-distance relationship with someone you’re in love with—what more trying to make it work with Someone in a whole other dimension!
Thankfully, although it may be difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible, we have a God who has made it possible. More than just having made it possible, He wants us to establish a close and intimate relationship with Him, and He has left the initiative to us. God wants to be sought. Even though He is already present, He still desires for us to desire Him.
What I did not realize that day, as I was obsessing over all those verses about what God could do for me, was that I had forgotten about what I could do for Him. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
God didn’t say, “Be still, and strain to hear My voice out of the silence.” He didn’t say, “Be still, and remind yourself of all my promises to you.” Sure, those things may be important, but He said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” That’s it. It was that simple. That was all I had to do: Know that He is God.
Bask in the knowledge that my life is held in the hands of a trustworthy, gentle, loving, and kind God who loves me more than I could ever love myself. It wasn’t until I gave up trying to scrounge for comfort that I was comforted. Neither did I realize that the whole time I was begging God to show Himself to me, He was already doing just that.
Verse after verse, He was reminding me that He would come through for me as long as I remained in Him. I didn’t see it because I was looking for something else— something tangible that I could hold on to so that I could feel better.
But God doesn’t work that way. So often, we get so caught up with wanting to see and feel God the way we see and feel other people that we miss His gestures completely. He is always reaching out to us, even when it feels like He is holding us at arm’s length.
He does answer when we call. He does renew our strength and give us peace when we wait on Him and talk with Him. Yet, in order for our eyes to be open to His responses, it is vital that we first and foremost stop—be still, and give recognition and acknowledgement to Him that He is God.
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