“Let me seek Thee in longing, let me long for Thee in seeking; let me find Thee in love, and love Thee in finding.” – Anselm
Once humbled and repentant, the human soul finds, as Tozer put it, that God is easy to live with. God’s presence is more than humbling, it is also compelling. After humbling comes hunger, and after lowliness, longing. Men whose posture was yielding to the supremacy and centrality of God found themselves seeking God’s beauty.
One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. (Psalm 27:4)
O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. (Psalm 63:1-2)
If the cross-like attitudes of humility and repentance acknowledge and respond to God’s supremacy and holy goodness, then the corresponding resurrection-like attitudes acknowledge and respond to God’s beauty. The life of faith not only prostrates itself in sincere, dependent reverence and repentance, it pursues God vigorously. From the ashes of humility and repentance rises the joyful life of seeking and submission.
Seeking the One We Have Found
Seeking God might meet some resistance from wooden interpreters of Scripture. Such people might argue that we have already found God in Christ, and seeking belongs to people without assurance of salvation.
While it’s true that we have come to know God in Christ (I John 5:20), the Christian life is a life of pursuing ever-growing knowledge of God. We can never exhaust our knowledge of God’s glory; therefore we are always to be seeking him. Consider again Paul’s prayer, where the idea of going deeper and deeper in the seeking and finding of the knowledge of God is explored:
That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
What will it mean to ‘find’ God? What happens in the state of communion when we seek God and he answers our seeking? Nowhere do we find a better illustration of the posture of seeking than in Moses’ frank and importunate conversation with God. Acknowledging that God’s presence is essential for Israel’s progress, and admitting that it is only by grace that God would reveal himself, Moses asks for more knowledge of God and his ways, so as to know more of God’s grace. God agrees to this, and then comes Moses’ bold request:
And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:18-19)
Then comes the fulfilment of this request, remarkable for its description primarily as a proclamation, not merely as a manifestation:
Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, “keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. (Exodus 34:5-8)
Moses was already in God’s presence, as we are. After all, he was in open conversation with God. However, Moses sought more of God. He desired that God would unveil his glory in clearer and brighter ways, so that he might adore and worship. This request pleased God, with the only proviso being that Moses could not behold God’s face without dying. God answered this diligent seeking by revealing himself to Moses, probably in some visual way (for his face shone on returning to the Israelite camp), but much of the revelation was a verbal proclamation of God’s nature to Moses’ mind and imagination. Moses saw and understood the beauty of a God both merciful and just, forgiving and yet not compromising, longsuffering and yet not remitting sin’s consequences on the unrepentant.
For the New Testament believer, the experience is not all that different. While we are, positionally speaking, always in God’s presence, the believer diligently seeking God desires to see his beauty in clearer, more explicit ways. The posture of resurrection-like faith desires God to reveal his glory. And then the believer follows through by vigorously looking for God’s glory in those places he will manifest it, trusting God to bring the clearer revelation, by grace.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Once found, the believer wishes to remain in healthy fellowship with this Beautiful Father, which means the posture of resurrection-like life is also one of submission.