Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
A friend of mine is now retired from the ministry and has time to reflect on his very interesting life. He tells how many years ago he was attending lectures at a university. His lecturer was an aggressive atheist, and each time he spoke he included some critical reference to the church.
He had no time for God. Didn’t believe in God. My friend Neil takes opportunities like these to share his faith. One day he walked into the lecturer’s office and wanted to talk. It looked like an argument might come, but Neil was ready. “I guess you’ve been hurt by some religious person in your past”, he bravely said. Yes, that was the case. He was angry with established religion and asked Neil: “How can an intelligent person like you believe in God. Why do you believe anyway?”
Here was my friend’s opportunity to calmly explain his personal relationship with a loving God. The lecturer couldn’t accept that. “Probably because of your own psychological needs,” was his blunt reply.
Neil kept going and tried to explain that God can come to us. He shared how years before, one night, and for no reason, his room was filled with a strange light. He had a sense of belonging:
“I realised that evening I was no longer a speck of dust out there in the cosmos. I felt a deep sense of peace and I was not afraid of anything—even death. Decades on that experience has never left me. It has become stronger the older I am”.
It was time for the next lecture, and his friend had to move on. He shook Neil’s hand firmly and said quietly, “Perhaps one day I might find Him?” And Neil said very wisely, “No. Just keep the door open and He will find you”.
God is looking for us
I love the story of the radio announcer who was live on air one day, and he had some cash to give away. So he phoned a number at random. The audience was keenly listening in, hearing everything as the phone rang. And a little boy answered:
“Hello”, the little fellow said.
“I’m wanting to give away some money. Is your father there?”
“No, he’s busy”.
“OK, can I speak to your mother?”
“No, she’s busy”.
“Is there some other adult I can speak to?”
The little boy whispered, “There’s a policeman here”.
“Can I speak to him?”
“No, he’s busy.”
“Is there another adult I can speak to?”
“There’s a fireman”
“Can I speak to him?”
Finally in frustration the radio announcer asked, “What are these people busy doing?” The little boy whispered back, “Looking for me!”
It’s a funny story, and cute as well.
I believe that God is ‘looking’ for me, and you. He’s not a remote Being up there in heaven somewhere. He is wanting to be part of my life and yours, and that of the atheist university lecturer I spoke about. He invites us to become part of his family. Psalm 53:2 says, “From heaven God looks down to see if anyone is wise enough to search for Him”. And in verse 1 of the same Psalm, David, the psalmist, says, “Only a fool would say ’There is no God’”.
The Bible explains that God never gives up on anyone. He constantly searches for someone who wants to open their heart to him. He doesn’t force his way in. The amazing thing is that God will do whatever it takes to reach you, despite all your objections and arguments. Jesus talked about a man who had 100 sheep and one of them was lost. The shepherd left the 99 and searched for the one missing sheep. He picks it up, brings it home, and shares his happiness to neighbours: “Let’s celebrate. I’ve found my sheep” (Luke 15).
This story tells me God has a divine heart for humanity. He wants no-one to be lost. Maybe you’re surprised that God is interested in you. The psalmist says we are the apple of his eye—we are precious in his sight. He looks at you with love and says, “Come to me and I will make life worthwhile—and even death will not separate us”. What a wonderful promise!
“Many of us struggle to conceptualise the infinite love of our heavenly Father. I think this is because we try to put God’s love into human terms—which always fall far short.”
God’s unconditional love
In your heart of hearts, do you believe that God loves you? Do you find it difficult to fathom that the God of the universe has positive thoughts toward you moment by moment, and every day? If you do, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle with conceptualising the enduring, sacrificial, infinite, and unconditional love of our heavenly Father. I think this is because we always try to put God’s love into our own human terms—and our terms always fall far short.
Our human relationships have conditioned us to measure love by ‘ifs’, ‘maybes’, and ‘becauses’: “I’ll love you if you do this.”; or, “I love you because you did that.” Most of us struggle with even imagining that a love without some sort of condition even exists. Yet, God wants us not only to know that such a love exists, but also really believe it and receive it.
- God’s thoughts, intentions, desires and plans are always for our good and never for our harm (Jeremiah 29:11; James 1:17). The infinite Being of the universe is for us, not against us. No matter how the immediate surroundings may look, God sees the big picture and has plans specially designed for our benefit.
- God is kind, open, approachable, frank, and eager to be our friend (John 13:12-15). Although he’s majestic in holiness, God is eager to be our friend. He longs to hear everything that we’re going through and everything that’s going on. He wants to share his life and his heart with us.
- God emotionally identifies with our pain, joy, hopes and dreams and has chosen to allow our happiness to affect his own. The God of the Universe knows when we’re depressed and when we’ve lost a loved one. Our pain causes him pain, and our joys give him joy. And when there is tragedy in our lives, he weeps with us—just as Jesus wept with his friends when Lazarus died.
- God takes pleasure in us just for the unique people that we are, completely apart from our performance and accomplishments (Psalm 139; Zeph. 3:17; Romans 5:8). Even if you and I had never done anything since we were born, God would take pleasure in us simply because of who we are.