Encountered by God
Have you ever noticed in Scripture that God rarely calls us to find him? That concept does show up now and then in Scripture. God does say in Jeremiah “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” There are a few passages in the Psalms and Proverbs that speak of the need to search for God. Jesus even alludes to this in the Sermon on the Mount. Still when we look at the broad expanse of Scripture, we find that most often it is God who seeks for people.
This is especially true with specific individuals or those we think of as biblical heroes. In the Garden, God walks in the cool of the evening to find and connect with Adam and Eve. God comes to Noah to call him to build an Ark so humanity can start over. Abraham is sought out by God and called to be the father of many nations. God calls Moses and commissions him from a burning bush in the middle of the desert. Through the remainder of the Old Testament God calls one prophet after another.
When we get into the Gospels, in the stories surrounding the birth of Jesus, this is even more prominent. God comes to Zechariah announcing the extraordinary news that Elizabeth in her old age will have a child. Through an angel, God comes to both Mary and Joseph, bringing the scandalous and miraculous news that the Holy Spirit will bless Mary with a child before she is ever with a man. The lowly shepherds in the field are visited by a host of angels declaring the Good News of the birth of the Savior of the world.
On and on the stories go until it is Jesus himself, going out, seeking people. He calls disciples from all walks of life, fishermen, tax collectors, religious zealots. He reaches out to the hurting and challenges the religious leaders to follow him. All of these stories echo one of the great truths of creation: God is not far off – He is with us!
As we begin this advent season, take time to reflect on this great truth. God is not far off. In the midst of days like this, perhaps more than at any other time, we need to be reminded that God is with us. Now that is Good News!