Summary: God says we need him and, even though we might not often think of it in these terms, we wish we didn’t need God. We don’t want to need God.
A few weeks ago, I was given a list of 75 questions asked by our elementary kids about God. One of them was, “Where is God?” A few astronauts have said that there must not be a God because they’ve been out in space, and they didn’t see him there. Some say God’s in the earth, he’s in the rocks, he’s in the trees, he’s in the water, and—actually those things are God. Other say God is you. Some say he’s a “universal truth” we can tap into in order to experience spiritual enlightenment and self-actualization. Other are content to say, “God is wherever and whatever you think he is or want him to be.”
Two things set us apart from these opinions regarding God. First, that God is personal. He’s the Creator of the universe who thinks and feels and loves, but exists in a dimension that you can’t touch with your hands, you can’t hear with your ears, and you can’t see with your eyes—even from a space ship. Second, God says that people don’t think they need him, but they do.
Do you ever think about winning the lottery, especially when you see the billboards saying that the Lotto is up to $20 million? You could retire. You’d never need to work, or have to depend on a job or anyone else to support you. Why does that sound so good? Because we don’t like needing or being dependent on someone else. We don’t like depending on people because then we have to be accountable to them, or because they might hurt or take advantage of us.
And that presents a problem for us because God says we need him and, even though we might not often think of it in these terms, we wish we didn’t need God. We don’t want to need God. We don’t want to be sinful. We wish Jesus didn’t have to die for our sin. We wish we never did the stuff that brings us to God asking for forgiveness. We don’t want to incur wounds that only God’s Spirit can heal.
Many of us are okay with the fact that we need him. That’s why we’re here—to worship the God who says, “You need me,” but yet, our need for God often gets in the way. The things that create this need for God—the reasons God says we need him are also the things that often make us feel far from God. So if we could just eliminate those things from our lives, then we would be so much closer to God. Right? Maybe. But maybe not.
What I want you to consider today is that those places in which you feel farthest from God are the places where God wants to meet you. The places where you feel most distant from him are places where you can also experience the greatest degree of closeness, confidence, security, and intimacy. So where is God? Where can you find God? First,
You will find God where you’re weak
After I became a follower of Christ, I began to see how destructive behavior and thinking patterns in my life—things God calls sin—were in opposition to my growing faith in God. I wanted them in my life because I like them, and I didn’t want them in my life because I knew they weren’t good for my spiritual health. I experienced that inner conflict—feeling perpetually drawn to things I really didn’t want to do. So I came up with a proposal for God. Just remove any and all of my natural desires to sin—It made a lot of sense to me. Just do a lobotomy on that part of my brain that was drawn to these things. God doesn’t want me to sin. I don’t want to sin. I’m thinking, “Just get rid of the problem. ‘It’s a ‘win-win.’” But God didn’t do it—not because he wants me to sin, but because if he removed my ability to choose, then he would also be removing the authenticity of my relationship with him—the ability to respond to God freely—both positively and negatively. So there I was—stuck with my weaknesses—some that annoyed me, some that really bothered me, and some I absolutely detested.
We don’t like the word “weakness” because it always sounds negative; we like words like “power,” “strength,” and “victory.” That’s how we want to see ourselves and we think it’s what God wants for us as well. But when we feel overwhelmed by our weaknesses we often feel very far from God. Maybe you feel dirty or unacceptable to God when you’re weak. Maybe you feel like you’ve failed him, or disappointed him. You feel like you’re buried beneath your weaknesses—like being buried underneath a giant trash heap and, in order to regain closeness with God, you’ve got to crawl out from under your weaknesses and shake them off all by yourself. But what if the place where God wants to meet you is actually underneath that trash heap in your weakness?