For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.
This passage has always been a favorite of mine – and I am sure many of you are quite familiar with it as well. Like the “series” of verses we have reviewed the past few weeks, this one also reveals the great love of God for you and His concern for your life as well. He knows YOU! He knows the desires of your heart! AND He longs for you…. Yes, God longs for a close relationship with you … a deep, personal relationship … and He promises that you WILL find Him when you seek Him with all your heart. God is delighted when you and I seek Him … when we call on Him … when we pray to Him. AND God promises to listen to you.
This verse reminded me of a speech that the Apostle Paul made before the men of Athens when he spoke at the Areopagus (Mars Hill) near the Acropolis. It is recorded in the Book of Acts, and I will share it here for your contemplation. For indeed, Paul confirms that God desires us to seek Him … to reach out to Him … and to find Him … though He is ever present with us:
Acts 17:22-31 (NIV)
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, God Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man (Adam) God made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ (Here Paul is quoting the Cretan philosopher Epimenides) As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’ (Here Paul is quoting the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus) 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For God has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed (the man Christ Jesus). God has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him (Jesus) from the dead.”
I observed here how Paul used the cerebral contemplations of contemporary or well-known (well-read) philosophers to bring “Truth” into the forefront of his apologetics. He implies that there is truth to be discovered even within the “ignorance” of these purveyors of human wisdom. But Paul brings the wisdom of God into view … revealing how God desires us … how He longs for us … how He wants us to seek Him and find Him! He is not an “unknown” God; rather, He is the Creator who has revealed Himself through His Word … and in these last days made Himself known through His Son! (Cf. Hebrews 1:2) Jesus is the picture … the “selfie” of the love of God! And He has brought you and I into the world at this time in history … at this place in history … in this specific community … in your specific family … for one purpose. That purpose is to seek God … to reach out to Him … and to find Him. EVERY CONTEXT in which you and I live and move and have our being – home, work, family, friends, church, community, etc. – has only one goal in the mind of God – that you and I would seek Him above all else. Everything else in this life pales in comparison to abiding in God and He in us! And everything else … outside of the body He gave you … is simply the context which He designed for us – and woven into the tapestry of plans He has for us – to accomplish this one goal – TO BRING YOU AND ME TO HIMSELF!
Why would God save us from darkness and bring us into His marvelous light (Cf. 1 Peter 2:9) if He did not love us and want a personal relationship with His created beings? And if He loves us (and He does), why would He not have your best and my best life in His mind. Yes, Father God has a plan and a purpose for each of us!. And God has ordained His best life for each of us according to His own counsel, wisdom, and will … even if we cannot envision what He sees for our lives. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:28 that we can readily and confidently know that God causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him, to those who have been called according to His purpose.” And in Romans 8:31 Paul asserts: “If God is FOR us, who can be against us?” This is what faith is all about! This is faith in its purest expression … that no matter what befalls us in this life … we place our full and complete trust in the living God.
O, how I pray that we will trust and rely on the love that God has for us. (Cf. 1 John 4:16) Help us to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that we might be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Cf. Ephesians 3:19). Yes, I pray that God will fill us with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. (Cf. Colossians 1:9) O Lord, increase our faith! Amen.