Do you ever feel like your relationship with God is an old country song called Searching for God in All the Wrong Places? If you’re searching for God and can’t seem to find Him you may be tempted to believe He’s hiding from you. Fortunately, this is never true because the Bible tells us that you can find God when you search for Him and seek Him diligently.
“…those who seek me diligently will find me.” Proverbs 8:17 NKJV
1 Chronicles 28:9 also says that if you seek Him you will find Him and Psalm 14:2 tells us that He looks down from heaven to see if anyone is searching for Him. He is interested in you! He wants you to find Him!
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Are You Searching for God in the Wrong Places
Isn’t it funny how we mostly search for God when things seem out of control in our lives? We only seek Him when we think we need Him! When things seem to be spiraling out of control we may cry out “God, where are you, and why are you letting this happen to me?”
And when He doesn’t immediately (or ever) fix the problem, we may begin to think He isn’t even there. We expect to see outright proof that He is there. The problem with this is that we, in fact, are not seeking God – we are seeking the proof!
When I am irritated and frustrated because it feels like I can’t find God, I tend to forget where to look for Him. It seems like the rational part of my brain that should know what to do and where to seek Him shuts down and I begin to allow anxiety to drag me along. I end up searching for God in all the wrong places. Not bad places, just misplacing my focus on Him.
Usually, after blindly stumbling along, I feel the thud of a brick over my head once again and I remember all the places I should go to find God. Once I return to the right places and I find Him, I ask myself, “Why was that so hard?”
So where is He? Where can you find God? What should you do when searching for God or how can you hear His voice when it seems like He’s not close to you? How can you see God when you’ve seemingly lost sight of Him?
What Does the Bible Say About Seeking God First
The Bible is filled with verses of Scripture that call for us to seek God first, above all things. We shouldn’t seek to fill the void in our lives with things of this earth.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV
God is the master engineer who created the blueprint for our lives and the world. As such, we should always seek His counsel first.
But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, “First seek the counsel of the Lord.” 1 Kings 22:5
We should seek God now! Stop making excuses. Stop waiting for the ideal time.
Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. 2 Chronicles 30:18-20
The Bible says that those who seek God will find Him. He hears even the smallest cry!
The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Psalm 14:2
The reality is that we should always seek God first. Instead of searching for God in the wrong places (our own interpretations of what we think or feel He should be or look like), we must truly seek Him and His glory.
What Does it Mean to Seek God With All Your Heart
Seeking God with all your heart means to seek Him above all else, regardless of what is going on in your life. It means to continue seeking Him, even when it doesn’t seem like He is there (He totally is but sometimes we may feel like He isn’t).
In today’s culture, there are countless distractions that pull us away from truly seeking God. Gossip, church-drama, social media, the drama that unfolds via politics… We get so focused on those things that we take our eyes off of the One who truly matters!
Seeking God with Your Whole Heart also means that you must be willing to let things of your past go. This could be the pain of past sin (or the sin itself), parting ways with people who draw us away from God instead of towards Him (even parting ways with close family and friends).
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
How can we be assured of this? By looking in His word, of course. The Bible is our spiritual navigation tool. It helps us get back on track when we are spiritually lost or need rerouting.
Here are some additional verses to savor that will help you stay grounded and secure as you continue to seek God.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7
Take some time to read the entire Psalm 139, written by David during a dark time in his life, and imagine God’s presence all around you.
How Do I Find God
So where is God and how can you get closer to Him? Simply move to where He is. God longs to be found by all. He’s not hiding. He wants you to find Him and understand His ways. If you are honestly seeking God with your whole heart, He’ll draw near to you and reveal more of His ways. Again, we can look to His promises in the Bible for this reassurance.Come close to God, and God will come close to you. James 4:8 NLT Click To Tweet
Finding God in Surrender
Sometimes we have a hard time seeing God because we have let pride get in the way. When we give up our need to be in control or do things our way, we find God has been with us all along, just waiting for our surrender.
I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally, he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. Psalm 40:1-2 MSG
Finding God in the Vulnerability of our Story
We are vulnerable when we practice telling others what He’s done for us. The Bible tells us to proclaim His goodness, not only because He deserves the glory but because when we tell our story it increases our faith. Testimony builds our faith and encourages faith in those who hear our stories.
I’ve preached you to the whole congregation, I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that. I didn’t keep the news of your ways a secret, didn’t keep it to myself. I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough. I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth For myself alone. I told it all. Psalm 40: 9-10 MSG
Seeking God Through Prayer
Prayer is a surrender of ourselves to unite with something (someone) we cannot see or control. It’s the ultimate abandonment in trust and God delights when we trust Him like this.
See God in Nature
The Bible says that nature itself sings His praises and declares His glory. When you feel lost, step outside and spend some time in His creation. You can bet He can be found there!
The world’s a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts. Nothing and no one comes close to you! Psalm 40:6 MSG
Seek God in His Word
The Bible itself tells us that His word is alive, powerful, active, and set to accomplish what God wants. What better place to seek God than in the Word that He inspired and gave to us? When we let His word dwell in us we find ourselves drawn to Him much easier when we feel lost. We’ll be able to recall a scripture or two that will draw our wayward thoughts back to Him. Immersing ourselves in His word daily is one way to ensure against that lost feeling that can come over us when we feel like we can’t find God.
Find God Through Praise
He inhabits the praises of His people. Go to a church where the focus is on praising God. Join in worshipping Him. Watch church services on YouTube and worship like you are there. That is truly seeking God!
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. Psalm 40:3 MSG
Finding God in the Silence
We have to get quiet and alone to hear Him. When’s the last time you allowed your heart to settle and the stillness of being alone sink in before you began seeking God? The story of Elijah reminds us that God often waits for us to be ready to hear from Him. Elijah was waiting for God to talk to him and a strong wind, a powerful earthquake, and a fire all appeared but God was not in any of them. When all that finally died and quieted down, God spoke to Elijah in a quiet voice.
Places You Won’t Find God
Productivity and Sacrifice – This pleases our ego but does not please God. Religious works won’t help us when we are searching for God. Often those who seek God this way end up further from His heart burned out, and disillusioned.
Doing something for you, bringing something to you— that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious— that’s not what you’re asking for.” Psalm 40:6 MSG
The Advice and Counsel of the World – Counsel can be good but nothing will ever replace the act of leaning in close to God and asking Him for guidance and direction. David was searching for God and remembered that God’s counsel was better than anything and that He could find God day or night.
“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night, my heart instructs me.” Psalm 16:7 NIV
“Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,” ignore what the world worships.” Psalm 40:4 MSG
Fretting and Brooding – The past doesn’t exist. You are not the same person you were so don’t go there. God is interested in the future – your future – so when you are searching for Him make sure you are seeking His direction forward not brooding about something in the past. Even the angels asked the women at the entrance of the tomb why they were looking for Jesus there. (Luke 24: 1-7)
Distractions – We’re really good about distracting ourselves and let’s be honest, it’s easy to do. But at the end of the day, distractions will never give us the lasting peace we are seeking. So set down the smartphone, pause the Netflix marathon, turn off the radio, get quiet, and seek God until you know you’ve drawn closer to Him. You don’t have to experience a burning bush moment to know that you’ve found God. A respite of peace, a feeling of being loved, or a moment of gratitude are all ways we know we have connected with God’s Spirit.
A respite of peace, a feeling of being loved, or a moment of gratitude are all ways we know we have connected with God’s Spirit. Click To Tweet
How Do I Seek and See Jesus
God is 100% faithful 100% of the time! He will always do His part but it helps when we can expedite the process by cooperating with His ways! When searching for God it’s best to follow a few standard principles.
- Show Up and Seek God! Make time to seek Him Be intentional. If you’re always rushing through life, you’re going to miss Him, I guarantee it. Clear out the distractions – even if it makes you feel uncomfortable to put things on hold or aside. That’s what we do for those we love, right? We put down the phone, turn off the TV, leave work early, turn away from our To Do lists and dirty dishes to sit on the couch and talk, hold hands, and listen. Put your agenda aside and decide to be with God. That’s always the first step when seeking God in your life.
- Shut Up and Listen to God! Practice silence and solitude – even if all you can spare is five minutes, start there. Just learn to be okay without the TV turned on or something to fill up every waking moment. Learn to listen in the quiet, because as we learned from Elijah’s story, God isn’t always going to come to you in a booming voice, it is usually in a still, small voice or a whisper. Most of us have more time for silence and solitude than we think we do, but we typically choose to fill those times instead of allowing God to fill them. Instead of listening to the radio or making calls in the car, what if you just allowed silence to be the norm? How much time do you really spend alone each day, each week that you could use to seek God? Add it up! Count baths and showers, commutes, walks or treadmill time, doing chores and time before bed…what if you turned the TV off one hour earlier than you normally do and intentionally gave that time over to drawing closer to God?
- Open Up and Look for God! Open the Bible! And open your heart. Be open to hear Him and be vulnerable to talk to Him. It takes vulnerability to admit you need help – even God’s help. Read the Bible without an agenda. Just read and ask Him to show you what He wants you to see about Him on the pages. Ask God to show you something in a new way, that might even be a Bible story you are familiar with or something you learned long ago. Be open to different translations of the Bible. Sometimes hearing something posed a different way can speak to us. Reading the same thing said the same way can start to feel like routine or monotony. When searching God with our whole heart we will find Him. That’s a promise! Oh, and that’s another place we can find God – in His promises!
Establish these truths and principles in your heart and the next time you feel lost or think God is distant, you’ll remember He always sees you and has His watchful eye on you even if you’ve misplaced your vision of Him. There’ll be no more searching for God in all the wrong places because you’ll know exactly where to go to seek Him.
Have you been searching for God in all the wrong places? We would love to hear stories of how you began searching for Him and the right places and found the true depths of His love! Comment below and share your story!