Today, if we wish to promote a person, product, programme or plan we would, more than likely advertise widely and make clear the merits of the individual or the benefit of the programme or plan. We would also make it as easy as possible for members of the public to source the subject of our advertising.
I have never seen an advertisement for anything which extolled the benefit of the product while going on to explain how hard, and only how, with great effort, one will be able to access it – and indeed may have great difficulty in finding it at all.
I came across this quote yesterday from a man who, when his friends advertised God as the answer to his problems, and then tried to find him, later said –
“Nobody’s spiritual journey moves forward smoothly and easily like a well oiled machine. There are unexpected pauses, silences, hesitations, reverses, jerks of pain and leaps of joy.”
Pauses, silences, hesitation, reversals and pain – you might be forgiven for thinking that The One who is advertised at “The Answer” – does not indeed want to be found and is not quite as willing as one thought to provide the answers we are looking for.
In truth the writers experience mirrors that of those seeking “The Divine Lover” down through the ages. The lover seeking her beloved in the Song of Solomon cries three times –
“I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.”
[Song of Solomon 3:1, 3:2, 5:6 KJV]
The writer I have referred to already went on to say –
“A soul does not move towards God by a logical process of conversion from the head, but from mysterious and incomprehensible changes within the heart”.
Again in this he mirrors multitudes before him who have set out on a heart journey towards God. Sadly some who start out on their journey towards God with the head never get to the point of a heart seeking – and as a result give up along the way, never able to deal with “mystery” and “incomprehension”. At best they settle for a head oriented religion devoid of passion and devotion.
It appears that The Divine Lover wants all of us – head and heart. Indeed he says so much –
“You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord ..”
[Jeremiah 29:12 – 14 NIV]
Another who discovered this was the prophet Isaiah. He writes –
“When we act in justice and righteousness — following Your laws — we wait for You. We are eager to hear Your holy name and remember Your ways. At night I long for You with all that is in Me. When morning comes, I seek You with all my heart”.
[Isaiah 26:8 – 1 The Voice]
In our “instant” culture, waiting, seeking, longing and patience are in short supply. Perhaps this is one reasons why so many are unwilling to make the journey of the heart in search of The Divine Lover.
The mystery of the God who so often seems to hide himself is made even deeper in that even when we have tasted of his immeasurable love he still, so often, remains elusive. A.W. Tozer writes in his classic book – “The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine” –
“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”
Much of this, although paradoxical as Tozer describes, is, I have come to the conclusion, best understood in terms of the marriage picture so often used to describe the relationship between God and his people in the bible – The Bridegroom and His bride. Even on a human level when we find the perfect lover and enter in to a marriage covenant with them would not the relationship fade were there not a continued pursuit in the area of love and passion? Indeed should not devotion and passion deepen over time? But often such passion is fuelled by separation and days of loneliness when lovers are parted. Is this one of the reasons God sometimes appears to play a game of hide and seek with us? Having discovered Love does not the heart always long for a deeper experience of Him?
The late Italian novelist Umberto Eco once said –
“Absence is to love as wind is to fire: it extinguishes the little flame, it fans the big.”
Might we always have the grace, patience and devotion to pursue the “big” – that we might be –
“Empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!”
Ephesians 3:18-20 (TPT)