Friday, August 19, 2011

Earnestly Seeking

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1b NAS)

Earnestly SeekingIt was two years ago that the neighboring city near where Laura lives started a tradition of setting off fireworks to kick off the Christmas season. By the time she realized what the noise was, it was too late. Laura's pet dog Suzy, a border collie mix, was nowhere to be found, frightened by the sounds of fireworks.

Alone with her nearly one-year-old daughter, Laura drove around in the darkness through the neighboring streets calling out Suzy's name out the window. It was very cold, and Laura knew she could not keep her daughter out all night. Feeling her stomach in a knot as she reached home, Laura tried to settle down so her daughter could get some sleep. Just before laying her daughter down in bed, the phone rang.

"Hello, do you own a dog named Suzy?" the voice at the other end asked.

As it turned out, Suzy had run about one and a half mile east through woods, neighbors’ yards, and even across a fairly busy roadway and intersection. The man who found her said he had let his dog out to go to the bathroom and when he let him back inside, Suzy had followed. Laura guessed the cold night may have helped in the quick recovery of Suzy. The man had found Suzy's ID tag around the dog's neck and called Laura immediately.

That was the story shared by pet owner Laura Best with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

Many of us know what the feeling is like to lose something and find it back later. What a joy we receive when something we have been earnestly searching is found! This sentiment is illustrated very clearly in Luke 15 through the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (Luke 15:3-20), exemplifying what it means to earnestly seek the lost.

About 850 years before our Lord shared to the world through parables, God through the prophet Jeremiah also shared to the exiles in the Babylonian captivity about what it means to be in earnest.

‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’ (Jeremiah 29:12-14 NAS).

Our Lord will be found by us when we earnestly seek Him with all our hearts. This is God’s promise to us. If we have strayed or are feeling far away from the Lord, or have lost something we desperately need, Jesus is able and willing to restore to us what we have lost (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9). If we seek Him earnestly with our souls thirsting, and our flesh yearning for Him, He will quench our thirst and satisfy our souls (Psalm 63:1b, 5). For our Lord’s lovingkindness is better than life, and He will uphold us with His right hand when we cling to Him (Psalm 63:3, 8).

Let us therefore come to God with faith, believing that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Seek the LORD while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near. Return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on us, and will abundantly forgive us (Isaiah 55:6-7). Like water that quenches thirst, our yearnings shall be filled when we earnestly seek the LORD our God (Psalm 63:1, 5). Like the lost that was found, great will be the rejoicing in heaven when the strayed is restored (Luke 15:7).

Forgive us Lord for the times we stray, and when we feel You are far away. Return to us the joy of salvation Lord, and restore us to a close relationship with You again as we earnestly seek You. Quench our thirst O God and uphold us with Your right hand, for Your lovingkindness is better than life.

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