God Looks For Us
One of the things I like about the way God approaches us is that he knows how to touch us, well before we start trusting and loving him. This can sound strange, but it is confirmed by the way we see Jesus interacting with people in the Gospels, especially in John.
Jesus’ wonderful dialogues with the Samaritan woman, Mary, Nicodemus, Nathanael, the man born blind, the adulterous woman and Peter are very instructive about our relationship with God.
They show that God is perfectly able and willing to speak, listen and answer us even when we still mistrust him (like the Samaritan woman and Thomas), have wrong ideas about him (like Nathanael and Nichodemus), cling to him for the wrong reasons (like Mary), cannot see him (like the man born blind), are crushed by guilt (like the adulterous woman) or are still full of wishful eagerness in our relationship with him (like Peter).
The only condition for this dialogue to begin –whether directly with Jesus or indirectly through Scripture- is not hiding from God, as Adam and Eve did when he came to meet them in the garden.
Everything God says through Scripture can be enshrined in the poignant cry Ayeka -‘Where are you?’ in Hebrew- he uttered that day for the first time and has kept on repeating ever since. Through Scripture God looks for us, waits for us at the well even if we still do not know who he is; comes to visit us behind our closed doors to wrestle with our doubts about him; is not put off if we find him pathetic or think he is only a prophet, or do not recognize him; he is not resentful if we have betrayed or ignored him. Tirelessly, tenderly, patiently, he leads us to love him and trust in him.
Even though trusting or loving the God who speaks through Scripture is not a precondition, nonetheless to understand what he says we need to engage with this text not only intellectually but with our heart. We have to pay heed to both what we are told and to how these words make us feel.
They will enlighten our minds to the extent that we let them touch our heart.