Are We Looking?

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If we’re honest, at certain times in our lives God can be difficult to find. If you’ve walked with Jesus long enough, there seems to be these seasons when God is either difficult to find, elusive or seemingly absent.

There are a lot of complexities and facets to this reality and feeling. There are a lot of potential reasons and points to consider when you are in this place. And, while I don’t want to offer a simplistic or one-size-fits all explanation for this reality, a new reason why God might be difficult to find did occur to me the other day. It happened as I played hide-and-seek, with my kids.

The truth is this, when I play hide-and-seek with my kids, I hide to be found. I don’t want to win; I want them to enjoy the search, to seek, to feel joy when they’ve found me and to celebrate when they discover me.

Then it hit me, does God sometimes “hide” for this same reason? That we might search for Him? That we might find Him? That we might be stirred to action?

This thought occurred to me as I stuffed my big 6 foot 4 inch body into a cupboard and desperately hoped my kids would find me, as it was incredibly uncomfortable. And, the longer they took, the louder I got yelling, “Over here, Asher, Eden, Hudson!!”

I wonder, does God ever do this? Remove Himself so that we might seek Him? Call out to us so that we might find him? Intrigue us, draw us and ask us to move toward Him?

Now, I certainly don’t want to downplay what you are going through or to dismiss any of your current realities, especially if you’re in a season when God seems absent. This isn’t saying that anytime God seems difficult to find, this is what going on, but perhaps, maybe God hides simply to be found.

The question is then: Are we looking?

Chasing Stars to Jesus

On Sunday we looked at an odd story of Magi, stargazing, and finding Jesus. What we saw in Matthew 2 is a beautiful story of sacrifice, searching, and stargazing. We see Magi who have been diligently searching the Scriptures because they knew of the prophecy about the birth of the Messiah. We see them willing to sacrifice and travel over 700 miles to Jerusalem to welcome and worship the new king. We see them suffer through heartbreak and difficulty as they finally reach their destination to discover there is no king in Jerusalem. And worse than that, it seems like Israel as a nation isn’t even looking. Doubt and dejection becomes a temptation. But they press on, they keep following the star, wondering and hoping that it will lead them to the one they have set out months and months ago to find. And finally after miles and miles of travel, after cold nights, endless sacrifices, threats, and rough journeys they arrive to find Jesus. They find him. And I think this is a beautiful story about how to find Jesus.

I love this story because amidst all the heartbreak, set-backs, and sacrifices they get to meet with God. Even though at times they were looking for Jesus in the wrong places, and maybe not in the right way, God still guides them to him. What matters to Jesus is the heart that is searching for him and these magi have a heart that demonstrates sacrifice, perseverance, and audacious hope. I love this because this story reminds me to never give up searching for Jesus.

Maybe you know what it is like to search for God and feel disappointed. Maybe you know what it is like to give up and leave behind your context to find this King,only to become confused and unsure. Maybe you know what it is to search but still haven’t found Jesus.

Well, I think this story teaches us something profound: don’t give up. Keep going. Keep believing. Even if doubt tempts you to give up, hold onto hope that Jesus could be over the next hill. Because the magi hold onto to hope in face of difficult circumstances, and eventually they go over the next hill and discover Jesus. And so what I want to leave with you today is this…Jesus could be just over the hill…so if you are searching, don’t give up

Because the God that you’re searching for…is searching for you too…

Sermon Notes

Big Idea: Your heart matters most in finding God

Take Aways…

  • What matters most in a gift is the motive and meaning behind it
  • What matters most to God isn’t looking for him in the right way, or the right place. What matters is the heart that is looking for him
  • Is your heart ready and willing to follow, sacrifice, and celebrate to find Jesus
  • Don’t ever, don’t ever, don’t ever give up searching for Jesus.
  • Focus on getting your heart right and never give up looking for the God who wants to be found

Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What surprised you in the sermon? What was new? What was different? When have you been given a gift with a “great motive”? What was the best gift you’ve ever received? Think about your motives. Are you searching for God? Are you willing to sacrifice for him? How might you sacrifice to find him this Christmas?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take time to talk with your kids about what matters in giving and receiving. Tell them that the heart behind it is what matters most. Talk to them about Jesus and how that’s what matters most with him too.

Challenge for this Week

Examine your heart your searching for Jesus with, and ask what you might need to sacrifice to find Jesus…