Would you like to know where in the world God is at in your life?
Here’s a promise God makes to you, You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
There are six ways God has chosen to reveal Himself to us when we seek after Him with all of our heart. Here are some ways God chooses to reveal Himself to us when we seek after Him:
1. Pivotal Circumstances
God loves to sneak up quietly from behind us in our daily lives and lovingly tap us on the shoulder whenever we’re going through a big transition.
God shows up more visibly during a big transition, like the following:
A change of career or loss of job.
Moving to a new community, changing schools, changing churches.
When one goes from being single to being married.
When one goes from being married to being single again (widowed or divorced).
When a child is born (especially the third child, that’s what mother’s with multiple children say is the toughest transition, kid number 3).
When the kids grow up and venture into adulthood.
When retirement age comes.
When someone gets cancer.
There are a lot of transitions and if we’re seeking God with all of our heart each day, He will show up in these pivotal circumstances.
Anything that causes us to be restless, these pivotal circumstances, these major transitions – He’s coughing and sneezing and shaking branches, and He’s whispering, Psssst!….I’m over here. I’m waiting for you to find ME in this season of change for you!
Through the big transitions in life, we need trust and know God is there waiting to reveal Himself when we look for Him.
He also works through:
2 Providential Relationships
It’s not just the changes in our lives where God gets our attention, He also shows up in our lives through other people.
Your relationships are not by accident. The people in your life that you trust, that you interact with, they are providential, meaning there is a reason they are in your life right now. Either you need to help them or they are going to help you. God has purposefully has put these people in your life.
Some of these people in your life, they quote Scripture, they share their spiritual experience, they pray with us, they encourage us and all of the sudden God comes into sharper focus.
The fog lifts when we see marriage how God intended and we say, Yes, I want that. We see that person has more joy in trials than we do and we say, Yes, that’s what I want. We see that person is content, that person has purpose, that person has spiritual disciplines, that person is really changing and we say, Yes, I want that.
God wants it for you too. That’s why there are Christians around you, to be an example in your life – a life is intended to be better than the selfish, anxious, fearful, grumpy state we make it.
When was the last time you wrote a note of encouragement or took a Christian friend out for coffee or made dinner for your parents just to say, Thank you for being an example of Jesus in my life?
They helped show Who God truly is to you.
God also shows up to us through:
3. Practical Teaching
Have you had a conversation or read a book or watched a movie that really spoke to you and you think, That person has hacked into my emails and texting. That person knows what I’m thinking. That person was speaking right to me?
When I preach, I hear frequently people responding they feel like they were the only person in the room and I was speaking right to them. I had nothing to do with it. The Bible is timeless and timely.
God’s truth from God’s Book will always practically speak to God’s people by God’s Spirit.
God’s Spirit with God’s Word through God’s people – that combination has this amazing way to give us direction and answers, nudging us to go right or left when we feel like we’re at a crossroads – not just what to know about God but to know what to do that is acceptable in God’s eyes. Families and churches need practical teaching. The Bible feeds us and the Bible inspires us to be verbs for God during our week – to love and give and forgive and sacrifice and serve and encourage and pray – and God has a way of putting the right person in our conversations to spur us forward to apply His truth to our lives.
4. Private Disciplines
All people in turmoil in their relationships or out of control with their addictions, every single time I ask about their spiritual disciplines, they answer, No I haven’t been doing that. I haven’t been reading the Bible daily. I haven’t been praying to God throughout my days. I haven’t been to worship every weekend. I haven’t been eating right or sleeping well or exercising or serving others.
For me, I don’t just have the daily routines of praying and reading God’s Word, or investing into my family for God, I also have weekly disciplines like tithing, giving a sacrificial amount back to God’s church, like communion, where I am grateful for the cross, where I’m forgiven after repenting of my sin.
I choose fast at various times in my year. I’ll go 40 days without caffeine to refocus on God. I’ll choose to not eat a meal on one day of the week for 3 months just to pray for those who actually are hungry in the world.
If not done in a rushed manner, if not done in a I’ve got to check this off my list, these daily and weekly and seasonal disciplines calm me down. Discipline for God and others, it focuses me on what matters in my life and what doesn’t.
The older I get, the more God allows me to experience, I see Him clearest through the discipline of prayer. When I’m out for a run, when I’m commuting home from work, when I pray with my wife, when we pray with our daughters or when I pray with friends, whenever I need God to come through or I just am joyfully overwhelmed by the life He has given me and I want to thank Him, that’s when I truly feel closest to Him.
These private disciplines are the personal part of your life that I can’t force you to do or determine how you should do it but our world is moving so fast and only getting faster, and I don’t want to be misinterpreted here when I say this because God is always on time
But God is found in slowness. God moves to a different beat than the world does.
And the tension we feel each day is, will we run fast with the world toward shallowness, or will we walk slowly with our heavenly Father toward fulfillment?…….Personal disciplines slow me down.
God reveals Himself through circumstances, relationships, teaching of His Word, through our daily and weekly disciplines – also, He reveals Himself through –
5. Personal Ministry
God has mostly revealed Himself in visible form through Jesus taking on human form. When we see Jesus in the Gospel accounts, we see God Himself, no questions asked. When you see Jesus, you see God.
And Jesus said interestingly that we would most see Him in the faces of the poor.
If you really want to find God, serve the poor. Clothe the poor. Hug the poor. Stoop down and live life with the poor. And not just the physically poor – but there are emotionally broken people in your life for a reason – so you can serve them. There are relationally broken people – so you can heal them. There are financially broken people as well, and give as God shows you needs and wisdom – but ultimately, there are spiritually broken people – people without Jesus, people with sin, people with baggage, people with a bad taste in their mouth toward the church, people who need to be set free that you need to keep praying for and serving. It’s your personal ministry. The broken people, the spiritually-bankrupt people, you should be serving them……and then you’ll find God…..He’s hiding behind their brokenness.
Bono, the lead singer the band U2 was speaking to a group of politicians and he said,
“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives and God is with us if we are with them.” – Bono
God is with us if we are with the broken. They’re around us. You don’t see the brokenness on your facebook page, but if you walk into a nursing home and serve the elderly, the widowed, you’ll see God.
You won’t see the brokenness by binging Netflix, but if you cook a dinner for a family going through cancer treatment or for a single mother, you’ll see God.
You won’t see the brokenness catching up with what the celebrities are into but if you open your home to foster care, or to adoption, or to mission trips, or to soup kitchens, or simply just to have neighbors over for dinner you’ve been ignoring, or to be a Christian example to your kids’ friends, you’ll also see God.
Perhaps the most palpable way we feel God in our lives is through:
6. Painful Seasons
Could it be that the God of the universe, Who knows everything that happens and allows everything to happen, Who loves every single person, Who hurts when we hurt, could it be that God reveals Himself the most when we seek Him during a painful season?
I’m not talking about painful moments or painful events, we’re talking about painful seasons. God is there. When pain shows up in your life, it’s not a drive-thru experience. Pain lingers.
When the pain of divorce are still around.
When addiction to lying or pornography or alcohol keeps tripping your family up.
When the Big C is diagnosed in your life or in a loved one’s life. Cancer is such a painful and frightening season.
As depression and letdown and failures continue to steal the ounces of joy that were left in you.
In painful seasons, I have experienced that’s when God reveals Himself in HD – crystal clear.
When my wife and I found out I was infertile after desperately wanting a child, God was there. When my father battled cancer for a year and died, God was there. In your darkest hours too – adultery, miscarriages, people hurting you, a painful childhood – God was there healing you.
In her book, Learning to Walk in the Dark, author Barbara Brown describes how she finds God while being alone in the darkness of a cabin or by walking down a dark trail in the woods, or even sitting in a dark cave. She writes,
“Sitting deep in the heart of a cave, I let this sink in: New life starts in the dark. Whether it’s a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it all starts in the dark.” – Barbara Taylor Brown
While we instinctively run away from pain, or try to ignore or avoid pain – God runs toward it. I don’t believe God causes pain but I do believe He uses pain to get our attention. To slow us down. To get us focused on him. C.S. Lewis called pain God’s megaphone. He’s screaming at us to find Him.
When pain happens, God is coughing and sneezing and shaking branches like a madman.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
It’s a promise God makes to us. Go find Him.
Thanks for reading. You are loved.