Because then you stop looking.
But until you get there, don’t. We’re predisposed to look inward for that which we need. The pseudo and pop-psychology of “self-esteem” outlived its freshness, and usefulness, at least a decade ago. Society’s clarion call of “to each, their own” lends itself to the theme of self-reliance, self-actualization. Secular humanism. Wicca’s motto of “do what you will and see that you harm none” is only one step removed from Aleister Crowley’s satanist slogan of “do what thou wilt, that shall be the whole of the law”. Point is, God is always in the last place you look. And trust me, if you’ve been looking inward for Him without accepting Jesus, you need to keep looking. Because He’s looking for you.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any[one] (the King James says “man”, it means “human”) hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
For those who see God and believe on and in Jesus, imagine yourself on the outside looking in–bereft of that which you draw upon daily for guidance and direction amidst a lost and dying world. Imagine a busy downtown street with people rushing this way and that. Did you find God or did God find you? You feel something, you feel like an animal that knows it needs some nutritive element. That’s how they are, by the way. When an animal is in any way deficient, it’ll seek out the food source containing that which it lacks, we as humans do the same. But imagine if the thing you felt you lacked was spiritual. Would you know where to look? Would you consider going into a church? Do you remember friends and acquaintances who mentioned things of another world? Things unseen. Things of faith and belief. Things which you dismissed as fantasy. Where would you look for that which you lacked? God is calling you. All of your past and successes and mistakes and choices have led up to this point. You keep walking, hands in pockets, head down. Where are you going? The dissonance of your heart is getting louder. The birds notice it and fly away before you’re near. They ascend to the wires and observe you with heads cocked to one side, cooing to each other. You’re getting closer. The last place you feel like looking is up. Only stars and galaxies in the infinite distance greet you with eyes indifferent. That’s what you think. You keep walking but God’s voice still rings in your ears. He’s calling you. Look.
“A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.” (Proverbs 17:8)
See, God has given each of us gifts. Whether we take those gifts back to Him and choose to use them in His service–or not–they provide us with a sense of nourishment. But the fact of the matter, any gift, creative or non, will only go so far. Notice the abiding joy of creating (writing/art/music/whatever). If you’re creatively inclined, how does that gift make you feel? Is it something to which you look when everything else turns its back? Maybe. I find that when I write or draw (My dream job used to be professional comic book artist, hah!), it’s like the thing takes control and works on it own. Sure it feels great but sometimes it’s more about the end result that the process. The gift was given for a purpose. It needed a warm body in which to reside, and by golly! there’s not much I can do about it. But what about when I’m miserable! Then I look at what I want to become and see where I am, and pine away for more skill and development in my gift. In other words, it keeps me going, but does not provide me with contentment in and of itself. Only God can do that. Looking again, there are times in my life when words are where it’s at. I think about the phenomenon of language and how we speak and I trace words and their meanings and sounds back to their Indo-European roots and find a sense of closure. I feel that if I didn’t have God in my life, I’d be able to look to language as a means of substantiating my lost soul. To put it bluntly. But a flash of realization tells me that even then, I wouldn’t be able to sate the gnawing paucity of His love. I say all of this to say that we cannot look inward for that which we lack. And if you feel you lack nothing, are you willing to humble yourself?
A man once related to me the story of his trip to Shanghai. As I come from a small town and have merely a little firsthand experience in the larger cities on the West Coast, I had no frame of reference for the magnitude of what he described. The first day off the plane, not really sure of where he was headed, he spied a communications tower off in the distance. As good a landmark as any, he set out to see it up close. What followed, however, was an all day trek through block after block of busy downtown Shanghai. He walked through day, afternoon and evening with that tower in view. (What about depth perception?) He finally made it after dark. Spent.
Think about our life as this man’s all day pilgrimage through the mega-city of Shanghai. We pass people on the street who couldn’t care less about us but God is in view if we choose to look for Him. The adventure may take us through any number of blocks, through numerous neighborhoods. But don’t lose sight of the landmark. Stop for lunch. Mingle. Be on your way. God stands head and shoulders above everything else if you choose to look up. And that action necessarily requires humility. And that, ladies and gentlemen–humans, is what God is looking for.
“Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off.” (Psalm 138:6)
God will not stop looking for you until you’ve found Him.