A speaker at a women’s conference several years ago said we’re all like the prodigal son in the Bible. We say, “I don’t want you, Father God. I want what you can give me.” In almost the same breath, we add, “Your plans aren’t good enough for me. I’ll do things my way, with your resources.”
The speaker also suggested that many of us want to go to heaven to experience its fringe benefits, not to be with God. In fact, we wouldn’t miss him if he wasn’t there, as long as he provided everything we wanted. When we sing about heaven and talk about how glorious it will be, are we thinking angels and harps and no more tears? Or are we anticipating the joy of spending eternity with our loving, merciful, gracious Father?
I remember an old Sunday School song titled “Heaven is a Wonderful Place” that includes the line “I want to see my Savior´s face.” But am I anxious to see my Savior’s face? Or do I just want to be happy and comfortable? Can I honestly pray the psalmist’s prayer? “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2)
We are incredibly me-centered creatures who can easily miss the thrill of knowing God and having our thirst satisfied by his presence, power and purpose. Psalm 14:2 says God looks down from heaven to see if he can find anyone who is seeking him. Another psalmist writes that God “delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (147:11)
I can’t speak for God, but I have a feeling nothing makes him happier than when we pray, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (143:10) “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
He’s seeking us. Are we seeking him, not for what he can do for us, but so that we can know him and worship him? Am I seeking him, not for what he can do for me, but so that I can know him and worship him?
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4:23)
*All scripture references from the New International Version of the Bible