We use that terminology, finding God, as if we can find Him if we just search hard enough. But God is not an object simply to be “found”.
However, this kind of expression can articulate a human desire to have a relationship with God or more likely to voice our realization that due to injurious circumstances in our lives we need God.
The reality is that if God is who He claims to be, the Eternal One (Exodus 3:14), the Unknowable One (Romans 11:33), the Exalted One (Isaiah 6:1, 57:15), and we are who He says we are – created beings who are fundamentally on a lower scale than God (Psalm 8:4, Hebrews 2:6), our search, no matter how exhaustive, has little if any chance of succeeding.
But there is another side to this story – as there often is.
There is biblical evidence that it is good thing for us to search for God.
It was the prophet Jeremiah, who told the Israelites living in captivity in Babylon that someday God would bring them back to Jerusalem. That day would occur, he said, when they turned to God and prayed. The implication is that they would confess their sin so that their relationship with God could be restored.
Jeremiah’s message was, then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you (Jeremiah 29:12-14). Finding God involves a diligent, prayerful effort flowing out of a clean heart.
Paul told the philosophers in Athens, a city that one ancient historian said had more altars to gods than it had people, that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might reach out for Him and find Him. And that was possible because He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:27).
God wants us to search for Him. He is exalted, Yes, but He is not hiding.
The key is that our search has to be done in the right way. We don’t determine the boundaries of the search. You won’t find the ancient Egyptian pyramids by searching in Alaska. You have to search where the pyramids are. And you won’t “find” God unless you search where He is.
The truth is that because of Who God is, and who we are, the only way that we can “find” God is if He reveals Himself to us. And He has graciously done that in creation (Romans 1:19-20), in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16. The most profitable thing about the Bible is God Himself), and in the person of Jesus (Colossians 1:15).
That is where you will find God.
Creation, however, has its limitations. It can tell you that God exists and that He is an eternal, powerful being. But it cannot tell you how you can know Him personally.
Jesus can show you God because He is God (Colossians 1:15), however He is not living among us and so our knowledge of Him is dependent upon secondary sources, that is the testimony of the Bible.
It is the Bible that today most clearly shows us God (and Jesus). It is there that we will find Him.
Searching for God is a good thing, but you have to search in the right place.
It is as true today as it was in the time of Jeremiah or Paul that God rewards the one who searches for Him.
Like the ancient Israelites, if you search for Him with all of your heart, you will find Him.
Don’t give up the search.
Stay in the Word