Can’t find God? Maybe you’re doing it wrong.
Many people question God. They question his existence. They question his presence. They question his goodness and power. But at the end of their journey, some people find God, and others do not. What’s the difference?
Why do some people seek God and find him, and others do not? Why do some people get their questions answered and others do not?
I won’t pretend to have all the reasons, but let me make one suggestion: Your approach matters.
How you approach God with your questions and skepticism matters. There is a right way and a wrong way. If you look for God in the wrong way, you will not likely find him. If you look for him in the right way, you likely will. Let me give you an example of how your approach affects a search.
If I glimpse a faint rainbow in a dreary sky, I may have some difficulty showing it to you. I will need your full cooperation. If you are openminded and trust me, if you’re willing to look carefully and follow my instructions, you will likely see the rainbow I see. However, if you are closed-minded, if you only glance, if you will not look diligently, if you will not follow my finger to where I am pointing, you will not likely see the rainbow.
This observation is obvious. I see this all the time with my children. If they determine not to have fun, they will not have fun. I may insist the activity ahead will be loads of fun, but if they cross their arms and crinkle their face, no fun will be found. Circumstances do not entirely dictate their experience. They have a choice in the matter. Their approach matters.
So then, as we return to our questions about God, it seems reasonable to conclude how you seek God affects what you find. How you approach your skepticism matters. So what is the proper approach? What does proper skepticism look like? One Christian thinker, John Stott, suggests four qualities of a proper search for God.
- We must seek God Seriously. A proper search for God requires our utmost focus and energy. How often I have encountered skeptics and seekers who have never read the Bible. They allude to its inconsistencies and lunacy, but when questioned, they cannot cite a single example. They’ve never read the book. If you want to learn calculus, you’ll have to study it. How much more so the God of the universe? So then, ask, seek, knock. Study, read, and research.
- We must seek God Humbly. A proper search recognizes at the outset all previous assumptions may be wrong. In particular, it recognizes, “I may be wrong.” To see something or someone new, we must have the humility to admit our mistakes. To be a student of anyone or anything, requires such humility. Without humility, our ears will be stopped.
- We must seek God Honestly. A proper search begins with integrity. If we encounter a new truth, we will faithfully assimilate it. If we encounter a chink in our own logical armor, we will honestly acknowledge that breach. Otherwise, we can shut our eyes so tight we will see nothing.
- We must seek God Obediently. A proper search for God requires obedience. Science has no comparison for this, but romance does. In a love relationship, true knowledge comes not only from inquiry but from response. We come to know other people both when we study them, but also when we interact with them and get to know them on the terms they require. This is the nature of relational knowledge. It requires action and proper response.
So, is relieving your doubt as simple as embracing the approach listed above? Maybe.
Maybe the answer to your skepticism lies at the heart of your approach and not the head.
Maybe if you sought with all your heart, you would see the one you long to see.
Maybe if you looked with the eyes of a child, you would see a new wide world.
What do you think?