Meeting with God is never easy. “Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb 11:6). In Jeremiah, God says to Judah, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (29:13). We must reach out for God even as we sit down to be with him.
A. W. Tozer observed that “contemporary Christians have been caught in the spurious logic that those who have found him need no longer seek him.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. The paradox of the Christian faith is that those who know him are those who seek him. Tozer writes, “Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they found Him, the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking.”
The psalms provide glimpses of those who knew and pursued God. David writes, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple” (Ps 27:4). In Ps 42:2 he says, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” In Psalm 84 we read, “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Ps 84:2). These psalms stir up our hearts to pursue God as well as record the psalmist’s pursuit of him.
The Christian vocabulary is filled with words like desire, thirst, hunger, pining, seeking, restlessness and yearning. Jonathan Edwards, the leader of the first Great Awakening in the American colonies in the eighteenth century, wrote, “Spiritual good is of a satisfying nature …. And the more a man experiences this … satisfying sweetness, the more earnestly will he hunger and thirst for more.”
During quiet time we can experience that satisfying sweetness to which Edwards refer. We create the time and space for God’s Spirit to break through. Occasionally something rises up—a yearning toward God. I never know exactly why it happens, but there is a sense of being drawn. Like embers that become a crackling fire when they are fanned, a yearning for God fills my heart and cries out, “Abba, Father” (Gal 4:6). I know cognitively and affectively that I belong to God. Affection and gratitude brim over in my heart. When that happens, I usually close my Bible, put away my prayer lists and just sit in worship.
Pastor Robert Chew
(Drawn from S.D. Eyre’s Drawing close to God: The essentials of a dynamic quiet time.)