by Patti Richter
You know you have a problem when Amazon can’t find your house.
We were not surprised at this difficulty since GPS wasn’t yet showing our new street address. Meanwhile, we tried to guide delivery drivers by phone. “You’re getting close,” I said to one exasperated man. “Just backtrack a few miles east and then turn south at the ice-cream shop,” I added. We never saw or heard from him again.
We finally resorted to giving drivers the address of a farm across the road: “Find this driveway and turn the opposite way.”
High-tech gurus warned us a few years ago that using navigational tools would eventually diminish our natural capacity to find our way in the world, geographically. Based on my personal experience of perhaps a dozen people who couldn’t locate us with directions such as north and south, I’m convinced this regression has happened sooner than expected.
Our location frustration reminded me of a spiritual condition I’ve observed too often. Some who believe in God—or at least want to believe—complain they are not on his radar. They feel disconnected from receiving any personal benefit or help from above.
Lacking favor with God is a valid concern, and there’s an early example of this in the story of Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve. Cain was “downcast” after God accepted his brother Abel’s sacrifice of a sheep while rejecting his own, non-blood, sacrifice. Even so, the Lord encouraged Cain: “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7 ESV). Doing well means approaching God on His terms. What He wants from us is our trust.
Psalm 139 is a profession of faith in an intimate God. He knows our exact location, “when I sit down and when I rise up,” our current “path,” and “even before a word” is formed by our tongue (vv. 2 – 4 ESV).
This psalm is credited to David, who God chose as King of Israel to replace Saul, who did not trust God. Like Cain, Saul did not heed God’s commands and chose to seek approval on his own terms, by offering a sacrifice to Him. But God did not want an external act of “obedience.” He wanted Saul to trust Him enough to obey what He had told him to do. God rejected Saul as king (1 Samuel 15:22 – 23).
When it comes to finding God, we need to abandon our personal ideas and assumptions about trying to be good enough to win his favor or what we might sacrifice to be on good terms with him. We need only look to Christ, “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29 ESV), who “once for all… put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26 ESV).
The opportunity to know God is available to “whoever believes in [his only Son]” (John 3:16 ESV). “In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13 ESV). God wants us to trust in His way to salvation. We can never work our way into a relationship with Him.
Many people wait for God to show up and make himself known to them, yet God has already delivered to us the gift of his Son. He wants us to believe in Him and enter into a relationship of trust.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 ESV
About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.
Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.
Join the conversation: What helps you to trust in God?