“All who search will find what their souls long for.”
Recently I read a book with my son. It was the legend of St. Christopher. For those who don’t know that story, before he was St. Christopher, Reprobus was a giant who wanted to serve the greatest king. So he went to the palace. Then one day as the minstrels read a story, Reprobus noticed the king make the Sign of the Cross when the devil was mentioned.
He asked the king about this, and the king said he did that because the devil was far mightier than he. So Reprobus went to find the devil to serve him. However, one day as they traveled, they saw a cross on the hill, and the devil fell to the earth, shaking in fear. Reprobus asked the devil why he did that, and the devil said that the One Who hung on the cross was far mightier than he.
So Reprobus went to find the One Who had hung on the cross. However, he couldn’t find him anywhere. Finally, he found an old hermit, and he asked where he might find the One Who hung on the cross.
The part I thought was most interesting was what the hermit told him: “You cannot seek Him out, but pray, and He will find you.”
I think a lot of us put a lot of effort into “finding God.” We study and read and work to seek Him. And strangely, like the Pharisees, some appear to be very knowledgeable about God but they don’t know Him at all. The only way that can be is if it is possible to seek Him, yet not find Him. Right? To know everything about Him and yet miss the point of Him altogether.
We can’t effort ourselves into a relationship with God. Instead, we have to settle ourselves, breathe, and pray and surrender, and He will find us!
Another piece of my “life puzzle” that I’ve been holding for you was this… a few weeks ago in Sunday School, we had my daughter’s friend (a guy) come and help her do a skit for the kids. The skit was about a girl who is trying to do her prayers so she can get on with her life. However, God starts talking back as she tries to say the Our Father. The whole skit is humorous, but one line struck me hard.
She was trying to pray through the line, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” God says, “What are you doing about that?” To which she says, “Me? Why should I be doing something about that?”
God tells her that if His will is to be done, if His Kingdom is to come to this earth, then it has to start with those who are praying to Him.
See, I think there is a connection between the two. I think often when we pray and seek, we think it is US who does the finding. “I found Jesus!” As if He was ever lost.
I believe the deep longing of every soul is to matter, to be loved, and to love. Where we get twisted is that we take “mattering” into our own hands. We work ourselves silly to prove that someone should love us, and when we don’t feel loved, we withhold our love from others. It’s a twisting of the longing of our souls that gets us in trouble–not the longing itself.
The longing tells us that there should be Someone we matter to. That there should be Someone who loves us. And that there is Someone we should love.
Then the world steps in and says, “To matter, you should… fill in the blank… have a million dollars, run a huge company, have a family, be married, give to the church… etc. etc. etc.”
Then it says, “Sure, you can be loved if you can find Mr. (or Ms.) Right. Only THAT PERSON can ever love you the way you long to be loved.”
THEN it says, “Don’t love anyone who ever hurts you. They don’t deserve to be loved. Require a high standard to give your love away, and even then, be careful.”
Do you see the set-up?
But there is a way out of that. When you understand that you matter to God. Period. That He loves you. Period. That you can love Him. Period… that’s when life really starts to have meaning and be fun.
So I think the synonym for “searching” is really “praying.” And praying is less about saying some pre-written text or even words from your mouth and heart to God. Rather praying is establishing and having a deep, abiding relationship with God.
Now I know. There are some of you who were never taught that. Believe me, I understand better than you think I could. But the more I watch God work, the more I rest in that connection, the more I see what God is doing and how He works in people’s lives, the more I truly believe that what He most wants… ALL He truly wants is to have a relationship with each one of us.
That relationship starts when we open up our hearts to connecting to Him, when we pray, when we go to the well, get silent and just say, “Okay, God, I’m listening.”
THAT’S when we will find the longing of our soul, which is simply learning how to let God be the best friend we could ever have hoped to find, the God Who is waiting at the well right now for us to come and sit and talk for awhile. Maybe it’s time to start that conversation.