Psalm 53:3 (NIV)- God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God.
Some of the sweetest memories that I cherish the most are those long hours I spent with my friends under the starry skies of Puerto Rico, singing to God, playing guitar, studying the Bible and praying.
That was a special time in the island (1980’s) when it seemed that a vast majority of people thought it was cool to be a Christian…or at least that was the way it felt.
Churches of different denominations would oftentimes organize praise services in order to seek after a deeper experience with God and grow in the Faith. Individuals would invite each other to special prayer and fasting retreats. Sometimes an invited friend would bring his own friend, who in turn would let others know. A retreat that started with 3 persons would oftentimes end with about 15 devotees fervently seeking the face of the Lord. Proverbs 8:17 (NIV) says-
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
There were times when the presence of God was so tangible, that we could feel his presence in us like electrical currents.
Many years have passed since those blessed days- my hair is gray and my body has become old- but my heart still yearns for those blissful days of the past when with brothers and sisters in Christ I imbued my soul with the Spirit of God, as we praised His name and sought after his presence.
To make matters worse, in the midst of all the ecclesiastical politics, hypocrisy and death, I have met some wonderful people outside of my religion who exhibit many of the mystical traits, devotional fervor and brotherly fellowship I once took for granted as a dreaming teenager.
God has promised that those who seek after him, will find him. (Jeremiah 29:13) Is that a universal principle, or is it meant just for Christians?
For most of my life, I believed that those who were outside of Christ were not only devoid of salvation, but also controlled by Satan and headed to Hell. That is no longer the case- especially since I’ve met a good slate of “Christians” who perhaps with me, belong in there.
I have also observed that some people outside of Christianity are closer to God than many who claim to be in our churches. I have become convinced that when people seek God wholeheartedly, even without the right theological knowledge, they can most certainly find the presence of God and be imbued with his love and mercy.
Theological knowledge about God is not the same as knowing and experiencing the person of God. In fact, it was the Apostle Paul who once said on Mars Hill that: “God is certainly not far from anyone of us.” (Acts 17:27)
Although I am not a Universalist, I believe that God’s love is transcendentally universal and without discrimination.
We can claim to know all the Systematic Theologies of the world, but if our hearts lack true devotion to God, we too might be as devoid of God as an atheist. (Isaiah 29:13)
The repentant thief that was crucified with Christ knew nothing about the main doctrines of the Church, yet in his attempt to console Jesus on the Cross, he gained paradise- even without seeking it. (Luke 23:39-43)
An ignorant but sincere disposition towards God will go a lot further than spiritual indifference in the midst of great theological knowledge.–jcr
If a person outside of Christianity can experience glimpses of the divine by simply seeking after the Creator and humbling themselves before him- what is there to say about those who are familiar with God’s special revelation to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Psalm 145:18 says:
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
The Christian Church has no excuse. Ours is the only religion that is founded upon the experience of Christ’s tangible resurrection. It should be us to whom the other religionists of the world should seek to emulate.
But is there anyone who truly seeks after God with fervent passion and love for his NAME?
Let me know where they are so I can join them with my disciples, forget about the world and live immersed in pure God-consciousness.
I have seen God on the other side…and He has smiled at me.
Alleluia Alleluia Yehoshua Alleluia! Yehoshua, Yehoshua, Alleluia, Alleluia!