Seek the Lord
By Jessica Van Roekel
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord. Jeremiah 29:12-14, ESV
A favorite game of children is hide-and-seek. One person counts to ten, and the other players scatter to various hiding places. Then begins the search behind doors and curtains, under the bed, and in closets. The winner is the one whose hiding place stays a secret, and the game begins with a new seeker. Does it ever feel like God is the one hiding and we’re the ones seeking him but never finding him? We search and search and search, but he remains elusive. We begin to feel like we are in exile.
Nebuchadnezzar had taken the elders, the officials, the craftsmen, and more to Babylon. The Israelites were in exile and far from home. The prophet Jeremiah wrote a letter to encourage them to live their lives and to stay faithful to the Lord. Their old life was over, and they entered a new normal. That’s what it can feel like for us when our world gets turned upside down and inside out. We long for the old normal and resist our new normal. We keep looking back at what we once had and fail to see God in our new present.
What areas of life do we struggle to adopt change? Aging, sickness, and disease bring unwanted change into our lives. Unmet expectations of a new job or relationship can leave us disappointed. Even something as simple as a home renovation project gone wrong can fill us with regrets. We can spend too much time in the land of “If only. . .”
- If only I had made that other decision.
- If only we hadn’t moved.
- If only I had paid attention to that lump.
- If only I responded differently to my child.
- If only God would have shown up when I needed him.
The Israelites must have asked the same question when they went into exile, and we can read between the lines of David’s Psalms as he dealt with similar if-onlys in his own life. If we look at our lives, we can find threads of doubt that God is with us in the middle of a new and sometimes unwanted life change. Unwanted changes can cause us to wonder how God’s plan for our life will unfold. We can wonder how God’s timing fits into the new and unexpected normal.
The changes that we experience can provide us with a fresh opportunity of drawing closer to the Lord. He guides our steps, he makes our way firm, and he holds us close. While we need to take the time to grieve what once was, we also need to seek God in the middle of our new normal. There are times when the change we go through is a place of God’s purpose and plans for our lives. God fulfills his Word and promises when the time is right.
Seeking him while we’re walking through unwanted change can reveal two important spiritual principles. When God desires to do great things in our lives, he inspires and impresses in us the desire to grow our prayer life. Second, the timing of God’s answers to our prayers relates to God’s purposes for his people and plans. When we joyfully and faithfully face the changes that challenge us and bring a different outcome than we expected, we provide a place of testimony of God’s faithfulness to us that other people can see.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
God can use your unwanted changes and make them a holy place. He can meet you right in the middle of the adjustment to a new normal. Take the time today to ask him to reveal himself to you. When you are tempted to look back with longing on the past, ask him to help you be grateful for what was and to help you look ahead with anticipation because he is with you this very moment and will be with you tomorrow. He goes ahead of you to prepare the way. Seek him today and ask him to reveal himself to you.
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Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.
Want to grow your prayer life? The So Much More Podcast shows you how to create space to be with God. This podcast, hosted by Jodie Niznik, introduces you to two types of scripture experiences: Lectio Divina and Imaginative Prayer. Join our growing prayer community today!