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by Mike Cope
Instead of craving a vibrant relationship with the God who made us, we settle for a house, a family, a few friends, a job, a TV and DVD, and a yearly vacation. We think we can survive with this and just a bit of religion. Yet our souls starve!
People who are trying to fill their hunger for love, acceptance, and security in relationships, material possessions, or even success will never find real or lasting satisfaction. Their hunger is not a mere physical or emotional hunger. It is a holy hunger a hunger from God and for God. Some may not know they long for him because they dont know him. Some dont seek him because they dont know where or how to look. Others are looking for God, but they arent sure what he looks like.
For a couple of years in the early 1990s, the New York Times Bestseller List included picture books starring a funny little man named Waldo. In Wheres Waldo? and its sequels the object is to find the little guy amidst all the other people and objects. Sometimes he blends into the background, while at other times he hides in the foreground. Waldo is easily recognizable because he has specific physical characteristics that never change. However, clutter and things around him often obscure and confuse the readers vision. Though a reader may sometimes give up, assuming there was a trick page that omits Waldo just to drive you crazy, hes there every time.
Thats Scriptures testimony about God he is there every time. Sometimes God is so present you cant miss him like when he brought fire down on the altar at Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18. But at other times he seems hidden as when he was present in the whisper in 1 Kings 19. Even when hes silent, however, he is not absent.
The Ultimate Battle
What if we really believed that our greatest challenge is to respond to the God who has continually sought us? How would it change how we deal with all the other challenges we face?
Imagine what would happen if parents were less concerned about keeping their kids off drugs and more concerned with entering their childrens battles to know God. What would it be like if pastors worried less about whether their people were having affairs and more about whether they worshiped? Picture a relationship between friends that dealt less with their financial and romantic problems and more with whether they were experiencing God. The results, I suspect, would likely include fewer kids on drugs, fewer affairs, and fewer nervous breakdowns and failed marriages.
Perhaps for some people the source of their relational problems comes not from investing too little in the relationships but from trying to place an unfair burden on them trying to make them offer happiness, peace, security, and life. Ironically, when we free ourselves from depending on others for true life, we are then free to love them unconditionally.
Dont Wait Outside
A doorman at a Broadway theater was asked if, during his nineteen years there, he enjoyed the shows that had come through. His answer was startling: he hadnt been interested, so hed never gone in where the performance was.
How long have you been just outside the door that God has opened for you? How long have you tried to quench your thirst with brackish water or satisfy your hunger with worthless junk food? All we have to do is open the door and let God strengthen us:
Whom have I in heaven but you?
(click here for Part 1, click here for Part 2, click here for Part 3).
Author: Mike Cope
Publication Date: April 21, 2001
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