Monday, November 9, 2020

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;
    I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
    I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’” —Isaiah 65:1

One of the really interesting social challenges that seems to have been exacerbated in the last several years is how to properly express tone of voice in written communication. I remember my little brother explaining to me once that responding to a suggestion with “yes” or “yeah” can make one seem reluctant, hesitant, or even sarcastic. I’ve read that people have started ending text messages with no punctuation because a period at the end of a sentence is sometimes perceived as unenthusiastic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been uncertain how to interpret the simple reply “sure.”

What’s lurking behind all of this is that we really don’t want to feel as if we’re imposing on someone, or insisting on something the other party isn’t really happy about. More dramatically, we don’t want to feel that we’re imposing ourselves on someone, or insisting on ourselves. The fear of rejection, the fear of not being liked or loved the way we like or love, is powerful. It affects so much of how we behave, not just in text conversations but in so many of our human interactions. It’s not uncommon for us to avoid an interaction altogether because we fear rejection.

Which makes it even more striking that God initiates relationship with people over and over, despite the long history of rejection. In this verse from the book of Isaiah, God describes his proactive mission to reveal himself to humanity, and specifically to his chosen and beloved nation of Israel. It’s not that they (or we) go looking for God. God comes looking for us.

God doesn’t let fear of rejection deter him from the relationship with us that he longs for. Instead, God creates the path to himself and leads us along it. When we ignore or reject God, God keeps waiting, keeps coming back.

If you haven’t been seeking God, if you haven’t been calling on God’s name, there’s good news: God is right beside you, right behind you, right in front of you, all around you, saying, “Here am I, here am I.”

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