Why is finding God difficult sometimes?

Sometimes people talk about "finding God" in the sense of becoming a child of God through Jesus Christ (John 1:12). Others use the phrase more generically to mean "getting religion" of any kind. Other times, it is believers who already know God who talk about finding Him. They might say they want to "find God," by which they mean "find God's wisdom" or "find God's comforting presence." They might be searching for reassurance that one day, in the end, they will see God face to face (Job 19:25–27). It is that sense of the phrase this article will address.

In regard to wisdom, there comes a point in the life of every Christian when we wish for something like the Urim and Thummim (Exodus 28:30), those ancient tools of the priest by which God would clearly indicate "Yes" and "No." When times get hard, everyone wishes they had them, or some magical prayer, that would guarantee an audience with God at once. In James 1:5, Scripture tells us that anyone who wants wisdom needs to ask God for it, and believing, they will be given that wisdom from God. If God's wisdom is what you need, ask Him for it, explore His Word, listen to wise counsel, and wait for the Holy Spirit to guide.

If God's comforting presence is what you are seeking, the Psalms are instructive. The Psalms describe numerous encounters with God through prayer, in confession and forgiveness (such as Psalms 32 and 51), and in times of physical danger (such as Psalm 54). Many times a Psalm will begin with lamentation regarding a hardship and end with praise to God (such as Psalms 3 and 13).

Do you ever feel like God is hidden from you? You’re not alone. Isaiah said "Truly you are a God who hides himself" (Isaiah 45:15). Paul said on Mars Hill, "The God who made the world and everything in it … does not live in temples made by man … And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being' …" (Acts 17:24–28). Finding God often seems difficult. Regardless of how we feel, God is always present. He sometimes seems silent in order to draw out our faith. Other times, our sin, doubt, or emotions cloud our view.

The best way to find God is to pray and to remember His words. In Psalm 77, Asaph is honest about his emotions and his discouragement. He pours out his heart to God. He says he made a diligent search and then said, "I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God?" (Psalm 77:11–13). We see a few key elements here: honesty in prayer, remaining faithful to diligently seek, remembering God's words and His deeds, and giving God praise. When it seems difficult to find God, we press in and walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:17). We then recall who God is by meditating on His Word and remembering His personal faithfulness in our own lives. This gives us cause to praise Him.

God has promised that when we seek Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7–8). So when times get tough, we must continue to seek. Then we patiently wait on God, all the while reminding ourselves of His faithfulness, trusting that He will be true to His Word.

Related Truth:

Why is it that God sometimes seems silent or absent in the life of a believer?

Why are trials and tribulations part of the Christian life?

What is a wilderness experience?

What is the key to knowing the will of God?

How can I come to really know God?

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