When I started college just after high school, I was seventeen years old. My older sister and I attended Palm Beach Atlantic College and we shared a car. We generally come home about once a month and while we were home mom did our laundry and she always sent us back with our favorite snacks. On one of those trips home, my older sister left earlier than I did and rode with friends who were staying at our house that weekend. I had a later class and I drove the car home and two girls who also lived in the same city. About two hours from home, the car had a problem. As I was driving down the expressway, the rpm gage suddenly started falling. I got off on the exit and pulled into a gas station and called my dad from a pay phone (yes that was before we all had cell phones). I didn’t just call my dad because he was my dad….I called him because he also owned an automotive repair shop. I told him what the car was doing and he told me, “Bring it home as far as you can get it.” I could tell by the sound of his voice that he really had no faith that the car would get us home. Nevertheless, my friends and I got back in the car and back to the expressway. We didn’t even get to the next exit before there was a loud clunk and that car was D.O.N.E. I safely pulled the car over to the emergency lane and desperately wondered what to do now. A red car saw us and pulled over also. A nicely dressed man got out and asked if we were ok. We told him the car was broke down and he offered to take us back to the exit. So now I’m broke down on the side of the expressway (no cell phone to call home) and a guy wanting us to get in his car. My passengers accepted his offer, but I was not keen on the idea at all. Since there is safety in numbers and I did not want to be stranded on the side of the road alone I got in the car with the other two girls. Turned out the guy did just as he said he would and took us back to the exit. I called my dad again. He said he’d have to try to find a wrecker to tow it home but needed a way to get it off the expressway. On the other payphone just behind the one I was using was a guy with a wrecker. I asked dad if he wanted to talk to him. Dad and the wrecker guy talked and made arrangements. The gas station I was at was owned by a friend of his and the friend would hold on to the keys of the car until my dad could get there to pay the wrecker bill. Two hours later my mom and dad arrived. I WAS NEVER SO HAPPY TO SEE MY PARENTS.
As glad as I was to see them, I was never alone. God was right there with me. Can you see in the story the different ways that God was watching over and protecting three young girls? The guy in the red car was from Palm Beach. We had passed each other several times as we were driving north on the expressway. He had daughters about our age and he only wanted to help. God also had a wrecker guy there at the exact moment we needed one. (Google wasn’t exactly a thing back then either.) Sometimes as we look back on situations, we can see the fingerprints of God. However, there are also times when it feels more like God is two hours away (or maybe more) and we wonder where he is when we need him. My dad was a great mechanic but all his skills did me no good when I was two hours away from home. Maybe you’ve not yet had the experience of finding God. The good news is God isn’t hiding from us. We never have to worry about being stranded on the expressway of life and desperately wondering what to do next.
Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”
With all your heart. Did you see that phase? Read it again. With all your heart. If you are truly searching for God and longing to have a personal relationship with Him, this is the key. You need to search for Him with all your heart. You can’t spend two minutes reading a verse or a devotional that comes in on your email just to check devotion time off your to do list and expect to truly find God. Sure, the Holy Spirit might draw in or convict of sin, but just reading that verse or devotional isn’t enough.
When we search for God with all our heart, we spend time with him. If all we have time for is five minutes (or even less) than our priorities are out of whack and we are not truly searching for God. It’s more like we’re trying to not feel guilty that we didn’t read the Bible today. Jeremiah 31:3 tells us that God has loved us with an everlasting love and with lovingkindness He draws us to him. He pursues us.
When we search for God with all our heart, it’s like searching for some treasured item that we can’t find. In Luke 15, Jesus tells the story of a woman who had ten coins, but lost one.
Or what woman who has 10 silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls her women friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver coin I lost! (HCSB)
This woman turned the light on, swept the house and searched carefully until she found it…then she threw a party to celebrate. If you are searching for God, turn the light on. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105, KJV) In John 8:12, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” God’s word and Jesus is the light that reveals the darkness of this world and the sin in our lives. Then like the woman who swept the house, we need to do some cleaning in our hearts and confess sin, set priorities back on the shelves where they belong and take out the trash. The woman didn’t give up until she found it. For us that means we continue to go back to the Word. We pray and pray again. We ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what He’s saying to us through the Word. We look for how we can apply it to our lives.
Wherever you are in life right now or whatever you might have going on, if you wonder where God is, then start searching with all your heart. God promised we would find him. The best part is….God isn’t two hours away. He’s right there where you are. In Psalm 139:7-8 David wrote, “I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.” Just open up your hearts and search for him. He is relentlessly pursing you and you will find Him when you search for Him with all your heart.