There’s always more … always a deeper place in God where we are drawn ever closer into His heart. We are at the same time thirsty yet filled. This is the great paradox of knowing He is here and yet seeking for Him more and more.
Yes, we know that Jesus said He will never leave us and He never does. (Mt.28:20, Heb.13:5) Why should we try to find Him when He is right here? Sometimes we just need to change our mindset and say, “Thank You for being here. I love you. Speak to me.” This truth has saved me many times from the enemy’s lies about isolation and abandonment.
But at the same time I find myself praying, “I know You’re here … but please come … come closer .. remove these veils so I can see You, feel You, hear Your voice.” Prayers like this do not come from casual worshipers. They come from hearts that are so in love with Him and so rightly addicted to His presence that they will die without it. We are not meant to just ‘take it by faith’ all the time. His heart longs for intimacy with us more than we could ever long for Him. He wants to reveal Himself to us. (John 14:21)
How can we be near Him and yet long for more of Him? Ask the Apostle Paul. He cried out “Oh that I may know Him.” (Phil.3:10) This was late in his ministry, after he had written a large portion of the New Testament. Surely he knew God by that time!
Ask Moses, who cried out to see God’s glory. (Ex. 33:18) And this was after all the miracles of crossing the Red Sea, of being fed with the bread of Heaven, of being in the very presence of God face to face on a mountain that shook like a volcano with smoke and fire!
Ask Job, who paints a picture of a God who plays hide and seek. (Job 23:9) Absurd? No, not really. Think of hiding Easter eggs and chocolates for your children. If you really didn’t want them to be found, you could dig a hole in the back yard and just bury them. But there’s no fun in that. So you hide them in conspicuous places for the little ones and a bit more obscure for the older ones. Then you watch them squeal with delight when they discover them. The fun is in the finding. (Prov.25:2) God does play hide and seek with us at times. But He doesn’t hide from us … He hides for us. He wants to be found by us. Then there are times when He hides so we will seek Him and come further into the deep places that we wouldn’t otherwise want to go.
Another reason why it sometimes seems so hard to find God’s presence is because there is always a battle for intimacy. It’s often a battle to get there and also to stay there. Our enemy hates this most of all and seeks to draw us away from the Lord in any means he can. Never give up in frustration. If you don’t quit, you win. The angels in Heaven worship in the midst of His glory. What else could they do? But when we, who dwell in this present darkness, choose to worship and love Him even when we can’t see – it touches them deeply. Even the Lord Himself is moved by your determination and love for Him.
There is a sense in which hunger for God is never ending … because there is always more of Him to discover. When our hearts become so sick with love and longing for Him, (Song of Sol.2:5) He fills us to overflowing with Himself and satisfies our deepest hunger. But even then we will realize that in the process He has expanded our hearts so that there is now room for even more of Him and this cries out to be filled as well. And so it goes on and on, this hunger and filling and hunger and filling until He transforms us into the very image of Himself. (2 Cor.3:18) He will never stop until we become one with Him. Nothing less will satisfy His heart … or ours.
If there is such longing in your heart for Him that you feel you will die … that you cannot think of anything else … that food and water or any earthly pursuits can’t satisfy – know that you are in the company of the great ones who have gone before you. (Heb.12:1) They are cheering you on toward the goal of intimacy with Him, to be closer to Him than anyone ever yet has been. And at the finish line you will run into His waiting arms and never be apart from Him in any way again. He is the goal. He is the great reward.
And if you don’t feel this hunger, this longing? Ask Him for it. It’s a gift He wants you to have. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst … for they shall be filled.(Matt.5:6)