By Paul Ravenhill
In a day when everything spiritual is offered as a fail-safe mathematical formula or mechanical theory, there is a comfort in going back to the Bible and seeing again the words which God employs in talking to man. I'm thinking right now of the word "seek". It is a word which does not speak of a certainty of knowledge or of a guaranteed process of mechanics. It is a word which carries implicit within it the fact that we have no answers - we have no guarantees.
Somehow, in our daily world, the more we seek an object the less sure we are of where it is to be found - it is only the "finding" which ultimately answers all our questions. As we seek an object we go first to where we believe it is to be found (the place we think we lost it). When we fail to find it there we go to the next possible place and finally, when we have searched "everywhere", we may find the answer in the least likely place.
So it is with our spiritual seeking... As we begin we think the answer to be close at hand - a short prayer for "guidance" or "enlightenment" and the answer should be ours. What do we do when the answer is not forthcoming? - become discouraged with the whole business? - or blame the devil and try "spiritual warfare"? - or recognize the fact that we don't have the answers we thought we had, and then settle down to a more serious seeking. I think if we are honest, as we go again and again through the cycle of seeking we will find layer after layer of superficial "knowledge" of the things of God being stripped away.
In God's world seeking: will lead us to examine, or re-examine, many things, and in the process discover much both positive and negative. Motives... fears... selfish ambition... shallowness... and deep-seated desire may all be turned up in the search - the first thing we find in our searching may be ourselves.
Our lack of knowledge, of relationship, of discipline and of convictions may come before us and show us our spiritual condition.
In the lack of answers to our searching we may see that we are far from being as spiritual as we thought we were.
The processes of God are never destructive and the end of our self discovery is to bring us to a place of awareness of the tremendous distance between the place where God dwells and the sphere of man's existence. Possibly one of the best things that could happen to us would be to know the measure of the distance between what we think we know in our heads and what we really possess in our hearts.
Only as we reach that place can we begin to rightly relate to the things of God.
Only as we reach that place can we really see, and hear, and believe the things of God's Kingdom.
"Seek"... like the blind man whose only contact with the material world around him is through the medium of touch, we must reach out, unknowing, to touch in the spirit a world beyond the ability of our minds to fathom. Unless we find its substance we must live in a world of unproved theories and unsubstantiated dreams.
Brethren, let us not be satisfied to live in an empty land of spiritual fantasy.
Let us face up to the implications of the word "seek" and extend ourselves beyond the darkness of this surrounding world to the One Who by His Presence makes all things manifest.
Let us know that as we find the object of our seeking in Him we find also His Presence, His Light, and His Life in ever-increasing fullness.
Copyright © Paul Ravenhill 1998 - http://www.ravenhill.org/