Have You Been Anxiously Searching?
Anxiety. Have you ever struggled with this seven letter word? For some you never know when this feeling will creep up and overwhelm your thoughts and feelings, for others struggling with a waiting period that feels too long or too uncertain may cause unsettling symptoms to take over. When we operate out of this emotion two things are certain, rest is hard to find and logic is hard to agree with.
As a church family we are taking time to journey through the book of Hebrews. Over the past few weeks we have been highlighting Jesus as the GOAT. I’m not being heretical here, Jesus is the lamb that was slain, but He is also the “Greatest of All Time” (abbreviated G.O.A.T.). His presence and position in our lives has the ability to impact everything, our emotions, our thoughts, our influence, our rest, even our interpretation of reality. We can catch a glimpse of this in Luke 2. Jesus is about the age of 12 and is supposed to be caravanning back to his hometown with his parents and community members. When all of a sudden his parents realize he’s not where he should be! They take three whole days to search for him and when they finally find him he’s located back in Jerusalem learning from the teachers in the temple courts. Being a parent in charge of multiple small humans, I can assure you I too would respond as Mary does when she has located her son and realizes no harm has come to him. She responds, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
Jesus responds with,“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
How often in our lives do we encounter a situation, interaction or hardship and we think “Jesus isn’t where he’s supposed to be?” Or “God where are you?” And it’s in those circumstances that we feel alone, helpless, uncertain or maybe even powerless. Anyone of those internal experiences will spark what we see Mary and Joseph engage in “anxiously searching”. When we feel alone, we are anxious to feel presence. When we feel helpless, we are anxious to feel helped. When we feel uncertain we are anxious to feel certainty. When we feel powerless we are anxious to have support. We are anxious to find the thing we feel is lacking, and ending internal distress becomes our main focus. Don’t mishear me, comfort is powerful, presence is needed, but the thing about anxiety is it cuts our brains off to even be able to relate to another for the things we so desperately need. It shuts us down so that when we do encounter another we tend to say “Where were you?!” and assume negative intent on their part. How often does this happen between us and God? We experience struggle and we automatically assume his intentions towards us were anything but good?
We have been assured of God's presence in our lives. Scripture tells us that a name for God is Immanuel, God with us. But it's the position that is up to us. Scripture tells us that we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. He is to come first in everything. Are their places in your heart, soul mind or strength where other things are positioned above God? Maybe you've positioned getting an answer to prayer or wanting to understand a certain situation above God? Maybe entertainment or distraction from current stressors have been placed above God? Or maybe feelings have become fact and have altered your interpretation about the character of God? When we have God in the wrong position, we tend to read God's word, interact with Him and have the same experience of Mary and Joseph, not understanding what he's saying to us. Are there any places recently where it's been hard to hear God? Hard to assume His intentions towards you are good? Challenging to know Him past the emotions you've been experiencing?
Being in that place is uncomfortable and many times discouraging. Jesus knew that and still understands this. But as we acknowledge His unwavering presence, His unchanging character and choose to know Him more in all the spaces we find ourselves in, we allow ourselves to reposition Him over our understanding, feelings and circumstances and can better interact with the one who truly is the Greatest of All Time and who will remain that way regardless of feelings, circumstances or interpretations.
What is one place today in your heart, soul, mind or strength where you need to reposition God's presence and align yourself with who He is and with what His word says about Him?
As always, if there is somewhere you feel stuck or need someone to come alongside you in the space or place you find yourself in feel free to reach out to our leadership team. We are not meant to do this faith journey alone and want to support each other as we continue to grow in knowing Jesus more and more.