Looking for God in all the wrong places…

Written By Marisa Pacchiarotti

Jeremiah 29:13:

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (NLT)

Deuteronomy 4:29:

“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (NIV)

It seems it’s our natural state to feel like something’s not quite right. Like we’re looking for something we don’t know how to describe. Like this world is not our home. We are not citizens of this earthly kingdom. Something in our souls knows this even though we can scarcely express how. So we go on searching.

Even when we know the Lord, we can’t help seeking, it’s so ingrained in us!  We look for fulfillment. We half-heartedly hope to find wholeness—or rather Joy—

in all the wrong places. Pastor Tim had a sermon about this once. He called it: “Looking for life in dead places.” We look to tangible, immediate things: sweet food, a feel good-book, a lovely movie, something amusing online, and the world on our phones only scratch the surface of what we go to for our joy, right? We’re subconsciously looking for that something, anything that in some miniscule way absolves that ache for a while.

There are joys to be had in this life, absolutely, and they are gifts from God. The danger is when we treasure them in our hearts as the source of Joy. The Joy. Our true Joy. When we look to them with desperation in our souls.

C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain: “The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: But joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God… Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

The Lord’s creation was made to be a joy to us. The sun brings joy and the full moon by night; splashing in the ocean and running barefoot through the grass (when it finally gets warm enough!) But the sun can burn out. And the moon can fade. And the oceans dry up and the grasses wither but the Lord remains!

It is wise to teach ourselves to let go of the things we look to for Joy. Our deep Joy. Our true Joy. And if we find ourselves really really not wanting to let go, maybe it’s all the more important that we do. All these things will be gone in the end, and it’s the end we’re meant to be living for. There’s no room for Christ in our hearts when we fill our hearts up with lots of other things first. In truth—though it’s impossible to do without His aid—there should be room for nothing but Christ in our hearts. It is His throne alone.

Sometimes I find myself asking, “Well how do I find it then? Where do I go with this ache? Do I spend my whole life in this search?” And by the grace of God I’m reminded once again: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

-Written By Marisa Pacchiarotti

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