Groping Along The Mountainside
I've been cobbling together my thoughts on seeking God this week. Here's what fell out of my Moleskine. Blessings on your weekend!
"From one man he made every nation of the human race to inhabit the entire earth, determining their set times and the fixed limits of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." Acts 17:26-27
The forest hung around our necks while the trail meandered off camber along the mountainside. It was a sketchy dusk hike—light enough to see yet dark enough to fall. We emerged from the winding tree tunnel onto a river rock field. It was mid-summer in the Vermont Green Mountains so the river was low; just patches of moon-colored water here and there.
We built a fire on a small archipelago, played guitar and chatted as night fell. Our return hike found the mountainside tunnel pitch black. We made a torch out of an old t-shirt and stick. It illuminated the path briefly. The rest of the one-mile jaunt was in darkness.
We groped our way along the mountainside tunnel, banging our shins and feeling our way. We emerged at the trailhead strained but happy to be out of the tunnel.
I remember the stress felt by some within our band of night hikers. I remember the frustration that accompanied the lack of familiarity with the path. I remember reaching out to find nothing.
Groping in the night is different than searching in light. In order to find my way to the riverbed and back again I had to reach out into darkness, wave my hands in front of me and search for directional clues. I had to continue on at a certain cautious pace. It was nerve racking and demanded singular concentration.
I wander how many of us grope for God.
In the Old Testament we find verses like Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart," Or verses like Deuteronomy 4:29, 1 Chronicles 28:9, 2 Chronicles 15:2, Proverbs 8:17 or Isaiah 55:6. God wants us to seek him, and hard.
In the New Testament Paul, in Acts 17, challenges the Athenian's worldview as he addresses the general council at the Areopagus. In his speech Paul says that God made the earth and mankind the way he did so that man would "grope" around and perhaps find him even though he's not really that far away. (vs. 24-26)
Paul uses a graphic term from which we derive "groping"—like feeling your way around in the darkness—straining
to find him.
I wonder how many of us, today
, will grope for God. I wonder how many of us strain for God with the full strength of our wills and minds, as the Old Testament frames it. Old Testament writers weren't promoting an emotional search, but a deliberate and daily grope
that required volitional determination and intelligence.
Put it all together: how will you, today, grope for God
—straining for Him and his goodness with every ounce of your will and every fiber of your intellect?
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