Finding God in the Wilderness

By Steve Webb

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Atheists and agnostics argue that our existence is a random accident, or at best, that we cannot know the answers to existence. These people generally do so without having examined the historical facts for Jesus, literary evidence containing those facts, psychological evidence concerning his disciples, the integrity and accuracy of Scripture, or the biological complexities of life. Further still, unbelievers lack adequate explanations for our innate sense of right and wrong, cosmology, fine-tuning, consciousness, personhood, intentionality, reason, and desire; all of it the stuff of great science and theology. Is all of our existence simply the result of the random collision of atoms in the trackless void of space? Answers to this beckon serious investigation - but ultimately, they are secondary in nature. Greater still is the fact that Jesus, said, "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you." God will not force Himself upon you. He is unlikely to personally appear to you in the wilderness, or write his name across the sky. This is because he wants you to voluntarily come to him, seeking him, rather than coming out of fear, as a powerful visitation would cause you to do. And if you do come to him, he promises that you will find him, as so many of us have already experienced.

Once you have allowed God to enter your heart, it inevitably leads you to the Bible if you are not there already. If God exists as a personal loving God who takes an active interest in humans; it is more than reasonable that he would have left us some kind of guidelines so that we are not left to our own devices, ever arguing over what is right and what is wrong. That is the purpose of the Bible. And in this Bible, we learn more than what is right and wrong. We learn that God wants us associating in communities of believers where we make close friends, care for each other, learn from each other, and worship together. In part, these communities are to be spiritual hospitals. That is what the church is supposed to be. Unfortunately, some of today's churches have become more of a business than care organizations, yet we cannot give up on them despite their shortcomings. The problem is that these churches are made up of sinful people with all their egos, conceit, pride, fear, and ignorance. And when you and I join them, we bring varying amounts of these same qualities. There is no such thing as a perfect church. The church is not what it should be, and never will be, because it is filled with us imperfect sinful humans. But when you join a church, you will find, perhaps against expectation, some of the wisest, kindest, most loving people you will meet your entire life. There is great power in the church that an outsider often cannot readily see. And with them, you will come to enjoy the ecstasy of shared worship. God asks us to be an integral part of the church, doing our best to keep the ship afloat and sailing towards the eternal far country.

In the end, we must not be lone Magellans, hiking trackless miles over a lifetime, and never finding much more than trees and a nameless nebulous god. Nor are we to be wilderness visitors who hear without hearing and see without seeing, never coming to a true recognition of the true God of the forest. The truth is out there — but it must be sought, and it must be sought not just in the wilderness, but beyond it, with a humble searching heart that truly seeks to know this God.

Steven R. Webb
Nov. 23, 2016

Image Credit: John Salzarulo; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Salvation  | Biblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | God-Father  | Witnessing-Evangelism

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Published on 12-1-16