Thursday, July 27, 2017

Seeking to Understand

Most of us seek in order to understand. We believe that if we set out on a path toward the answers, we will one day arrive and know all that it is that we've wanted to know. We believe this about God, especially, and that's why we spend our lives attempting to grow in the faith, to know more, to understand better this God who created us, called us, and calls us home to Him. 

We even hold onto verses that promise that "he who seeks, finds" as proof positive that if we just keep at it, we'll get there. It may not be until this life is over (which is the popular Christian idea), but we'll get there. We will find what it is that we seek?

But what if the seeking itself is the finding?

There's a little verse tucked away in Proverbs that changes the way that we should think about what it means to seek. "Evil people do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything." (28:5)

That verse says so much, but what we have to notice right away is what it doesn't say: it doesn't contain that little word that we love so much to add to our Christian faith. It doesn't say will. It doesn't say those who seek will understand everything. You know, maybe one day. When God wants us to. Those who seek do understand everything. 

So there must be something about the seeking.

It's got to be a humility thing. That's all I can figure. Because the Christians who are so confident that they actually understand everything, the ones who are so sure they're right on all accounts, are those that it's so often clear to the rest of us that they have no clue. But those who confess that they're just doing their best, that they're just trying to figure this all out, who plainly admit that they might be wrong - that the revelation of God is indeed developing - they're the ones who most seem to have their finger on the pulse of this whole thing. And what is it that they're doing that the first group of Christians is not?

They're still seeking. They're just trying to find God and the holy in this world. And in an honest, humble, faithful effort in such seeking, perhaps they have found it and do not even know. 

I'm struck by all of the things that I seem to understand when I'm just trying to find God's heartbeat in this world, things that I could never have figured out on my own or by sheer hard work. It's when I'm looking for God's creational intent that I discover brokenness and understand what it truly means. It's when I'm searching for God's tears of grief that I figure out heartbreak. It's when I'm seeking some kind of real authority that I understand the false voices of the world. It's not because I've necessarily found God, that I would know fully and well what creational intent, grief, or authority are in any way that I could put them into words or anything like that; it's just that in looking for them, I am better able to see all that they are not. 

Maybe it's the same way with God Himself. In seeking Him, our eyes are open to better understand all the things that are not Him...and precisely how and why they're not. Only in seeking the God who will never fail us can we truly understand all those things that let us down time after time after time. Only in seeking the God who loves us can we honestly look at something and say, "That's not love." Only in looking for God can we find Him, but with our eyes wide open for holy things, it becomes piercingly clear what is nowhere close. So we look around and know more than maybe we thought we knew because at the very least, we can say, "That's not it." 

That's not it. That's not what I'm looking for. That's not what I'm after. And all of a sudden, all of the shadows start to come into the light and I don't know, maybe it does make sense. Maybe the best that we really can do is not so much to find.

Maybe it's just to seek. 

Those who seek the Lord understand everything.

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