September 20th

Seeking God 

11Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11 AMP 

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek. Psalm 27:7-8 NIV

9"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. 11"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"  Luke 11:9-13 NIV 

It was late afternoon on a cool day in May.  An older man was working in his garden as the day’s light faded into the evening.  A teenage boy dressed in a tuxedo came out of the house and walked confidently out to the garden to talk to the man. 

“Dad,” the boy said, “I’m ready to go…can I take the car?” 

“Son, I don’t think so.”

“Why not?  This is my big night...the senior prom…my friends will laugh at me if I show up in the family station wagon.”

“Son, you always think you deserve the best things in life, don’t you?  You should be thankful that you even have a car to use.  You may take the station wagon.”

“But Dad, I’ve worked hard in school this year, gotten good grades and even got into the Academy.  Isn’t that worth some special privileges?  Why is it such a big deal to let me have the car for my special night?”

“You’ve done a fine job this year and I’m very proud of you, but the answer is no concerning the car for tonight.”

The boy stomped off in disbelief.  “How could Dad humiliate me like this?” he thought.  For many years following the incident, the father’s words would echo in the back of the young man’s thoughts.  He still wondered why his dad withheld the gift that he really felt he deserved.   

The boy in the story was me about eighteen years ago.  This memory came to me this morning during my quiet time with the Lord.  He showed me some things about that incident that have helped me understand my relationship with God as my heavenly Father.   

Somewhere along the line in my high school years I started pulling away from a close relationship with my Dad.  My Dad and I used to spend lots of time together, but now we were seldom doing things together. He had his workshop, boat and car hobbies.  I had my friends, sports and school functions.   I remember saying quick goodbyes’ to him in the workshop as I was walking through to go to youth group or on a date or some other activity.  I remember often feeling a tinge of guilt and a desire to reconnect with Dad during those times, but didn’t take a moment to consider how to do so.  I figured maybe sometime later in life we’d work things out.  What I didn’t know back then was that Dad would die four years later from cancer, and that we’d never have a chance to work things out. 

When it came to the prom, Dad had the sports car that I wanted for my special night.  It was perhaps the culmination of our drawing apart, and his response reflected the pain that I’m sure he must have felt.  His son was apparently only interested in his stuff and not a relationship with him.   

This morning I realized that in some ways I’ve been guilty of seeking God’s gifts more than a relationship with him.  I’ve asked God for financial blessings, favor with people, “success” in ministry, a big house, a good job and many other good things, while at the same time not really seeking him.  At times, when the thing I asked for didn’t come, I’d get mad at God for not giving it to me, just like I did with my Dad in the garden.     

I know that God is inviting me and perhaps you to make the priority of seeking him. He wants us to seek him as the Giver and not get sidetracked into seeking the gifts that we want.  Jesus instructed us, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).  God is a good God. He knows what we want and longs to bless us with the special things that we need and desire.  As we get to know him through spending time with him in a daily relationship, we’ll discover both the riches of being in his presence and the fullness of joy that comes from knowing him personally.  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord God, you are so merciful and kind to me. Thank you for being my heavenly Father! I love you and desire to press in and seek your face.  Please forgive me for any times that I have sought your gifts instead of seeking you.  I am sorry for dishonoring you in those ways.  Please help me to deal with any issues that have kept me from connecting with you and being in your presence.  I long to experience the intimate relationship with you that Jesus died for and paid for in full.  Thank you, Father! Amen.”