God always searches for us first
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2006
&8220;God&8217;s searching for you and your searching for God can continue for only so long. At some point the seeker God meets the seeking person or the seeking person meets the seeker God. The encounter occurs!
It occurs because of God&8217;s great love and God&8217;s persistent seeking. How might you respond to God when the moment of meeting comes?&8221;
Ben Campbell Johnson writes these words to begin his thoughts on attending to God.
We need to remember, and always remember, that encounters with God are ultimately God-induced. All of our seeking is God-induced &045; even when we might be unaware of God&8217;s activity.
Johnson sees three principles at work in the Samuel story that might be helpful to us.
First, it is God who speaks. Often God&8217;s voice comes to us when we least expect it and seldom, if ever, in audible form.
Mostly, God comes to us through intuitions, experiences and imagination. Johnson contends that many people fail to notice God&8217;s presence because they are living inattentive lives.
Often Jesus would challenge listeners to be awake, to be alert, to be watchful. Jesus was telling people that God was present and active. Johnson challenges us to live in a state of awareness because God&8217;s voice will ultimately demand an answer!
Secondly, we may need help in discerning God&8217;s voice. This is an invaluable principle to learn. Many people sense that God is at work in their lives, but they need the affirmation of others, of the church to make sense out of what God is revealing.
This is one of the great reasons to be active in the fellowship of the church. Think about how many times you have been called to ministry through the church. Sunday School teachers. Elders. Deacons. Ushers. Greeters. Liturgists. Committee members. God&8217;s activity in your life made you aware of the chances to serve, and God&8217;s call came to you through the church.
If you believe that God is at work in your life calling you to particular work, talk to a friend, seek counsel and find affirmation through other people and the church.
Third, when the seeking person and the seeking God do encounter each other God&8217;s call will require a response.
We are encouraged to study scripture, to reflect on our circumstances and experiences, and to pay attention to an &8220;inner sense of rightness&8221; to help us respond. God desires active, seeking people.
The grace of God makes it possible for us to respond in positive, appropriate ways.
Rev. Mark Davenport is the pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Alabaster.