SEARCHING FOR JESUS
BY: DAVE GARNER
APRIL 30, 2008
I woke up one morning and looked around and everywhere I looked there was a dark hazy grayness, a heaviness of spirit. My heart was heavy, my spirit full of woe. Worry, fear, doubt was my constant companions, always ready to pounce at the slightest provocation. I felt that at any moment the last of my hope would flee away, never to be found again. “Oh Lord!” I cry, “Where are you?” Save me, hold me, embrace me, embrace me, do something Lord to show me that you still love me, show me you are really there Lord and care for me, for I am not Lord, I am not! I feel anger rising up in me, I am feeling rejected, alone and I hate how I am feeling; how do I shake this off of me. Where do I go, what do I do? I shouldn’t feel this way, I am a Christian, a child of the King I say, but yet what is this other stuff I am feeling? Where is it coming from? What is a child of a king supposed to feel like; surely not this way? Something is amiss, what is this that I am feeling that feels so wrong? Why is there no sunshine, no joy, oh such darkness, such weariness of spirit? I am tired, my spirit is tired, I am struggling Lord, I must find you.
I rise up and stumble in the dark, I grope reaching for anything that might sustain me. I am desperately searching for answers. I began to search for Him everywhere I go, I look for Him in churches, I look for Him in meetings, I look for Him in people’s faces, I look for Him in activities, but all to no avail, for it is endless chatter everywhere I go. Is it me Lord, is it me, do I not understand? I look for Him in the Bible, in studies, people’s writings, and even on the internet. Oh Lord, where are you? I feel the pressure of the darkness, it is all around me, I am struggling, screaming on the inside and no one seems to hear my cry or even care. I fall to my knees in despair, even to the floor, weeping, weeping, lost in the chasm of doubt and fear; I feel hopelessness wrapping its icy grip around my soul. I feel the emptiness of the nothingness upon which I seem to be standing. Help me Lord! Help me! I cry.
Out of the darkness I hear the Lord say, “Seek me and you will find me.”
“But where Lord?” I ask, “What am I looking for? How will I know it is you? I want to touch you, feel you, see you, face to face. Lord, please show me you!
“You can feel me, you can touch me, but you must look for me, before you can find me.”
“But Lord, where do I look?” I have looked everywhere Lord.
“It is only my word that you receive into your spirit that is able to dispel the darkness. I am here; I am always here, but you are not seeing me because you are not looking for me in the right place.”
“I am trying Lord; I am doing everything I know to do.”
“Yes I am Lord, I am studying, praying, fasting but there is so much pressure Lord, it is our circumstances Lord. If you would just make things a little better for us, Lord. Just change my wife and give us more money, things would be different.”
“You are afraid to look in the right place. You already know where I dwell. Why then are you looking for me in those other places? Do you not know that the Holy Spirit lives within you?”
“Lord, I am trying to be faithful, do good to honor you, always be honest, stand strong and be an example, and I am always trying to love everyone, even when they do me wrong.”
“These are honorable, but these speak of your intent, not mine. I desire all of your attention; I want the contents of your heart.”
“But how Lord, how?”
“Move the clouds, for the sun is still shining behind them. You have focused your attention upon the darkness surrounding you. I have given you the power to move them and the authority to look beyond them.”
“But how Lord, how?”
It seems I bask in His presence for a season, and then I somehow find myself searching for Him again. I know that it is true that I have heard the voice of God speaking to me many times, and each time the strength of His voice grows stronger and stronger and my confidence in the reality of His presence within me grows immeasurably. The strength of each experience seems to be dependant upon the intensity and depth to which I hear Him. I have testimony that He has lifted me out of the darkness of despair every time I have called unto Him, and during the times I am standing on the mountain top with Him, I feel I can conquer any opposing force that comes at me. I have asked myself, how then does it happen that I find myself once again groping in darkness looking for Him. I am not sure I fully have an answer for that yet, but I know that right now, at this very moment in life, I feel His presence ever so much stronger than I ever have.
I have discovered within myself that if I am not careful, I have the tendency to measure my understanding and experience with God, the life of God within me, based upon the outward circumstances and conditions surrounding me. If I don’t have enough money to pay my bills, then my faith must be weak, or maybe I am not doing enough to satisfy or appease Him. Maybe I am not giving enough or sacrificing enough to God. If my family rejects me, maybe I should have done this or done that, and maybe God was really telling me to do something else and I just did not listen. I can tell you by personal experience, “the what if” or “I should have” worlds, produce nothing but torment for the person living in them. I too easily at times, have allowed my attention to be drawn away from His living testimony, His abiding truth, His living Word within me, onto earthly physical conditions around me, and by doing so, it robbed me of my hope; it took away my vision.
I know that man has come up with all kinds of remedies and methods trying to alleviate any negative condition man may experience, and there is advice galore about what to do; we know, we looked through a lot of them. There are also an innumerable number of spiritual authorities, self improvement gurus, and health experts that are ever willing to give advice. Sheila and I began our search for answers within our own hearts. We were so hungry for peace between us, to find a place of rest and restoration with God as well as with ourselves, of harmony, so that we could get off of the roller coaster lifestyle of being up one day and down the next, that we found ourselves being closed off to all outside influences and we had no other choice but to go to Him with all of our hearts. We knew that before any worthwhile changes could take place, we had to be willing to embrace the truth within ourselves. We were truly, spiritually undisciplined. We had been so used to allowing our thoughts the liberty to roam unchecked in relationship to our current circumstances and the condition around us, which usually became the motivation behind our actions. We were living not by the creative God given power of faith, but instead out of the realm of constant reaction to day to day circumstances that we were confronted with.
We were approaching life backwards; we were allowing circumstances and conditions to dictate how we felt and what we did. We had lost our joy which dammed up the God given creative resources available to us, by focusing all of our attention upon the darkness, upon what was wrong, upon what we didn’t have, and what we didn’t want and were living day to day, ever defending and responding to the negative conditions of lack, failure, or whatever, that we always seemed to be confronting. The Lord spoke into our spirit the words, “Before any beneficial positive change can begin to take place, you must begin to take accountability for what you are right now, and begin to recognize that it was your actions, not mine, your thoughts, your unbelief that have caused you to lose sight of your vision, for it is my desire to give you all that I have and for you to live prosperously, happily and in abundance.”
Do you know that if God dwells within me, than “Love” dwells within me? Do you know that if the Holy Spirit dwells within me, the very creative power of the universe dwells within me? All I have to do is train my heart to listen to Him, put all my faith in Him and do what I am hearing Him tell me to do. It is only by renewing the spirit of my mind that I am able to prosper and become an overcomer. By His Word abiding within me, I have the power to dispel any darkness around me, rebuke the negative forces that attack my thoughts and I have been given the right to stand at peace in the presence of my heavenly Father. Do I really trust His Word? Do I really believe that I can say “Peace be still” and it be done. I do have the testimony of the past that when I cry out to Him, when I call upon His authority, that miracles do happen and things have always changed for the better.
Sheila and I are currently in a retraining process. We keep the TV turned off most of the time, and we no longer entertain ourselves with mindless activities. We keep a constant vigil on what we read and what and who we open ourselves up too. The truth is, if we feel a negative spirit that tries to capture our spirit and draw our attention away from our purpose in God, we do not play with it nor even give it room to grow within our thoughts, we turn away from it and do not fellowship with it. We keep constant reminders posted all around us of His promises, His faithfulness, and His purpose within us, ever reminding us that He is ever near and all we need do is be willing to call upon Him, believe and recognize Him as Lord. It is so awesome to know that He loves us so much, that He gave us His living Word to abide within us, so that we are ever able to find comfort in our time of need. We began a daily vigil of reading positive, spirit feeding information. We began talking to one another, showing each other that we loved each other. We have learned to communicate and face the truth about ourselves.
The truth was we had become too “self focused. Without realizing it, we approached almost everything with, “What about me,” or “What’s it going to do for me,” or “WIIFM”* focus. We have changed our focus back to the positive things that He has made available to us all, all along and are now purposely feeding ourselves out of the wells of living water that we know are out there and by doing so, we have entered into a realm of the heavens that we had no idea existed before now. Our spirits have been forever lifted out the oppressive darkness that tried to swallow us up. We know we have a ways to go, but we are rejoicing and are thankful about how far we have already come. We are enjoying the increase that is taking place within our lives and are learning more and more each day how to enjoy life and our relationship with God and with each other. We are rejoicing, for we truly now know by experience, that we can overcome in any circumstance, and God does dwell sovereign upon the throne of our hearts.
Everybody’s favorite radio station: WIIFM* = What’s in it for me?
SEARCHING for JESUS [Dave Garner] 4-30-08 1