Prairie dog at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Haven, KS

Seeking is a process

If you look for God, you’ll find Him. Right? He’s promised that in other verses. But the Bible never wastes words. If the words aren’t necessary, they wouldn’t be in Scripture. Every single word is essential. So why does it matter that we search for the Lord with all our heart and soul?

If we can just find God by turning over a stone and exclaiming, “Look! I found God!” why is it important to search with everything we are?

Sincerity is important, yes. If you’re not sincerely seeking something, even if you find it, you won’t understand it.
Because seeking is a process.

Prairie dog at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Haven, KS

Prairie dog at the Sedgwick County Zoo – Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Deuteronomy 4:29.

But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.

People say they are seeking God, but that’s a popular thing to say. They also say they’re seeking to find themselves, they’re seeking to find God’s will and purpose, they’re seeking the truth. But everyone seems to forget the first thing that has to happen before you truly begin to seek; first, you have to lose it. Then, you have to really want it.

If you don’t really want what you’re seeking, you’ll be satisfied when you find the first answer that fits your expectations.

This verse is taken out of a passage where Moses is addressing the Israelites. This generation of people was the children of the ones who God rescued from Egypt. That original generation refused to do as God told them. He’d told them to go into the land He’d prepared for them and that He had given them victory. But the people only saw the giants in the land, guarding the way, and they refused. So God caused them to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation had died. Their children would inherit the legacy intended for them.

This generation was sold out to God, but Moses warned them that if they broke the promise they were making, if they forged idols and turned away from God that they wouldn’t live in the land for very long and would be scattered to the wind. But even scattered and without a country to call home, if they turned back to God and searched for Him, He promised they could find Him. If you know your history, you’ll know that’s exactly what happened.

Seeking God is popular among Christians. But what does it mean to actually seek God? And what does it mean to seek with all your heart and soul? In the Amplified Version, it actually says to seek with all your heart and mind and soul and life. Think about that; that’s huge. If you’re seeking with all of those things, that means seeking is your entire life.

Have you ever looked for something like that?

Most of the time when we seek something, it’s like we’re looking for our keys. During Judgement House, I couldn’t keep track of my cup. We had those lovely Styrofoam cups that we scratched our names on, but no matter how careful I was, I kept misplacing it. And I looked for it, but in the end I just gave up and got another one. That’s how many people search for God, I think.

We seek sincerely for a day (maybe longer) and then we come up with another explanation. Or we decide that He’s not listening or that He’s not there and we accept a lie because we are too lazy to wait any longer. But here’s the thing, folks, those of us who seek God need to realize the possibility that we may not have lost Him to begin with.

Moses was warning the Israelites that if they turned away from God, if they worshiped idols and were cast out of the Promised Land, they could find God if they searched for Him. But in that situation, the Israelites would have lost Him. They had dropped Him, given up on Him, turned away from Him. So of course they would need to search for Him again if they wanted Him.

But Christians? We haven’t lost God. He’s right here. He’s been here. And if you say you’re a Christian, you haven’t lost Him at all.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying don’t look for Him. What I’m saying is that so many times Christians waste the limited time we have looking for something we’ve already found. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wasted ten minutes looking for my keys, when they’re in my coat pocket.

Yes. Search for God. But if you’re really searching, remember that you have to lose Him first. And if you haven’t lost Him, if you haven’t turned away from Him, why are you wasting time seeking? He’s standing right beside you just asking if you’ll talk to Him. So talk. And don’t put words in His mouth. Let Him speak through Scripture, through prayer, through godly council of mature believers, and don’t argue with what He tells you.

But if you have lost Him, seek. Just don’t do it like someone looking for their keys or for a stupid Styrofoam cup. Seek with your whole heart, your whole mind, your whole soul and your whole life. That is how you seek God. It’s not a half-hearted attempt at being good. It’s not you presenting options and hoping God is happy with what you’ve come up with. It’s your entire being laid out in desperate need, crying out to God for the truth. He won’t turn anyone away, even if you’ve turned away from Him.

But even if you find Him, you may not get the answers you want right away. Seeking is a process. And like any other process, it begins with the first step. But that first step is the most important.

Gaboon Viper in fallen leaves


One of my favorite places in the world is the Sedgwick County Zoo. It’s one of the top ten zoos in the country, and they have all sorts of awesome exhibits. Among them is the reptile and amphibian house, previously called The Herpeterium when I was a child. It’s full of incredible displays and animals who are so well camouflaged it takes a long time to spot them.
But the one that freaks me out every time is the Gaboon Viper. Can you see it in this picture? This isn’t a good photo. It’s blurry. But you get the point. This sucker is hard to see, and I can understand how someone can step on it unsuspectingly, especially since it takes to hiding in fallen leaves.
Gaboon Viper in fallen leaves

Gaboon Viper in fallen leaves - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS

I’m not trying to be irreverent, but many times in my life, I feel like God has camouflaged Himself, much like this snake has. This snake settles down in a pile of leaves because he knows he can hide there without being seen. And there are days when I really feel that’s what God is doing.
I feel like He’s hidden Himself so deep in His plans for my life that I can’t see where He is or where He’s going. Not that I need to know. But knowing where He is helps me to remember that He really is doing something.
Today’s verse is Deuteronomy 4:29.
But from there you will search again for the LORD your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.
It’s easy for us to find God, honestly. If you open your eyes, He’s everywhere and evidence of Him everywhere. But what do you do when you can’t see Him? Do you give up?
Well, how satisfying is a trip to the Reptile and Amphibian house if you don’t try to find the animals buried in the leaves and bushes and hidden in the trees? It’s not much of a trip at all. It’s just wandering around in a humid building that smells like swamp.
The thing is about God, if you genuinely look for Him, you’ll find Him. Sometimes in the reptile house, the keepers have removed an animal from its exhibit. So even if you spend hours searching for it, you won’t find it. Because it’s not there. But God doesn’t work that way. He’s always there. And if we lose sight of Him, most of the time that means we’re looking in the wrong direction.
I’m not saying that He is always easy to find, but sometimes you have to trust what you know instead of what you feel. And I’m not saying that He always steps out of the room to teach us a lesson. That’s not what I’m saying at all.
But too often I find myself frustrated with Him because I can’t see Him, and then I realize that He’s been standing right beside me all along and I’ve just been running around too busy to notice. And what I have learned is that the problem is never with Him; it’s with me.
So the next time you lose sight of God, look for Him. Don’t just glance into the exhibit. Really look for Him. Talk to people who are walking with Him. Read stories about what God is doing around the world. And look into your heart and your motivations and your life and check to see if you’re really looking as hard as you think you are.
Because God made camouflage to help His creations survive. It’s not something He uses to hide from us.