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Searching for God

“I’m searching for God” is a phrase I occasionally hear, and sometimes wonder what the person means. At one level it’s perfectly straightforward—there’s a spiritual inquisitiveness, or a hunger to find out more. They’re aware that there is more to life than job, car, home, family, success, relationships—that we are made for something bigger than 70 or 80 years. That’s great, I wish that more were hungry for this sort of knowledge. If that’s you, let me encourage you to do a course like Christianity Explored to find out more about the God you are looking for. If you are interested, please contact me.

But sometimes as I listen to other people using the phrase I detect something else. My girls love to play hide and seek; one of them loves it so much that sometimes she hides when we’re not even playing the game. At some point we realise she is missing, and panic ensues until she’s found hiding in the wash-basket or some such place. That’s not what God is doing—hiding away, waiting for people to start looking for him. He doesn’t play hide and seek. You don’t need to look too far to find him.

What’s meant here when people say “I’m searching for God”, is that they’re looking for a god they like. They’ve heard about the God of the Bible but they don’t like what he says, and yet they still have that hunger for something greater to live for, or for an acceptance, or redemption greater than we can manufacture.

They’re caught on the horns of a dilemma—they want a God big and wonderful enough to be worth following, yet not big enough to make demands that we should follow. They want what one writer calls a ‘Stepford God’—named after the film ‘The Stepford Wives’. These beautiful wives did their husband’s bidding, never contradicting, but they turn out to be robots. That’s the sort of god some people are looking for—wonderful enough to please them, but undemanding enough not to require deep change. And such a god is as incapable of a personal relationship as one of the Stepford wives.

We need a God who isn’t a ‘Yes’ man, but one who is big enough to challenge us and tell us the way things are. When you meet that God, a God who is prepared to tell us truths we don’t like about ourselves, then you know you’ve found the real God and not a figment of your imagination.

This is the true God who reveals himself in the Bible—he isn’t hiding.