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"Hiding in Plain Sight!"




“Hiding in Plain Sight!”

Jeremiah 29:11-14a

11 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord...

Faith. Every single person on the face of the planet, from the very dawn of creation, has had faith - whether acknowledged or not. Faith is essential aspect of life… it’s a requirement for living. And faith in God is a foundational part of being a Christian, it’s indispensable for those of us who follow Christ.

Because it’s “in faith” that we receive, we hear, the promises of God. Like Jesus’ promise, “peace, I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you, as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 15:27). Or His promise, “ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7). Among many, many others.

We were created to be people of faith. It’s part of our DNA. There’s a God shaped void in our lives that can be filled by nothing else. Faith in God leads us to believe his promises, and to accept his promises as true! Like the promise from Jeremiah 29:11… one of the more famous promises in the whole of God‘s word… “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 in the future.”

Of course, claiming to be a people of faith and living in faith, are two separate things. We exercise faith in a lot of things in this life… Faith in Social Security (or our jobs), faith in our friends, faith in our government, faith in politics, faith in our church. We claim faith a lot. We are a people of faith.

But... Living IN faith, however, requires a life of surrender. A kind of release. Whereby we turn loose of the reigns… we surrender our control… and we rest in the assured hope of God’s sovereignty.

One of the reasons we seem to struggle with faith from time to time (being tempted to cry out for more faith - like Jesus’ disciples long ago - resulting in Jesus’ saying, “if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you could move mountains...” per Matthew 17:20)... is because we’re resistant to complete surrender. And failure to completely surrender to God’s will is a sign that we haven’t quite found God.

We say we have faith... we profess that we live in faith. We give voice to trusting God, and loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. But instead of trusting his will & ways, we still insist on things being our way.

We live in a state of rebellion… stubbornness… trying to keep God at a safe distance… boxed away for emergency use only. Sometimes turning to false Gods... like money; alcohol; work; even politics and church... not to mention self.

Not unlike God’s people long ago, who found themselves in open rebellion before God... listening to the words of false prophets while trusting in themselves and turning to false/foreign Gods. Of course, as a result of their rebellion and sin... they were carried away into captivity; in Babylon. Where God would remove everything except his presence... the Temple, the city of Jerusalem, the nation of Judah... all taken away, until the people of God would turn back to God, and seek him above all other things.

We often act as if God is hiding himself. As if God is deliberately in seclusion somewhere… Refusing to be found.

And we wonder why we lack the power to move mountains… we cry out that we feel alone in the valleys of this life... confused as we toss and turn in anxiety and restlessness... endlessly searching for something to fill the void, that only God can fill.

It was Augustine, who famously said “you have made us for yourself, oh, Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” We can’t rest in God when we have not surrendered to God. We can’t possess his peace, unless his peace rest within us. We cannot find him… Unless we seek him with all of our heart.

Of course, we understand, seeking things with all of our heart. We get it. We seek lots of things in this life with all of our heart. When we set our heart on something, we give it our full energy… our complete devotion… all of our strength and cognitive efforts are used to focus on whatever it is, that we have set our hearts upon.

I wonder what kind of mountains we could move if we sought the Lord with the same passion and desire that we devote to our favorite football teams? Ouch. I wonder if we’d struggle so much with our faith, if we sought God’s will with the same fervor and devotion that we lavish on politics? I wonder...

God‘s call through Jeremiah for us to seek the Lord with all of our heart… isn’t some declaration that God is difficult to find… because he’s not. God has chosen to go to the greatest of extremes to reveal himself to us… Even becoming one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. God wants to be found!

But… at the very same time… He refuses to force himself upon us. Choosing instead, to allow us to seek him with the very same love and devotion, with the same sacrifice and surrender, by which he seeks us.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Amen.

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