Whenever we are comfortably feeling like the god of our own life, it’s easy to interpret “seek the Lord” to mean, “I have this issue happening in my life right now and I need God to fix it.” I need God to get me back to normal, or through this financial difficulty. I need God to make me healthy and get me back to work, so I’m going to seek him.
When David is writing Psalm 34 in a cave, running for his life, he’s not seeking God to just get him out of a tough spot. He is seeking God‘s control. We know that because in Psalm 27:4 we clearly see into David’s heart. He said, “ONE thing I ask from the Lord, this ONLY do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” David was saying, the one thing I seek, that I devote my whole life to, is to dwell in the presence of God. I’m seeking your presence, God, more than anything. That is why God was able to so quickly deliver David from all his fears. It’s not that God is egocentric who makes life all about Himself. It’s that God knows that life and this world only truly work when He is in control. When we open the door and give God permission to be in charge, He delivers us from all our fears.
That’s what happened in my hospital room that night as I stared out my window, depressed and desperate. Within minutes or maybe seconds, peace covered me. It seemed like a blanket of peace kind of fell over my hospital bed and rested on me. Minutes earlier I had been in such a bad place, afraid, and discouraged, and now I was laying in complete peace and confidence. Though all this bad was around me, I was suddenly in a place of good. I felt a flood of relief that I no longer had the responsibility of figuring it all out. Instead, I could trust God in His wisdom to take care of me! As sick as I was, I felt so alive. It reminded me of Jesus in Luke 9:24: you can hold onto your life; you can try to save your life and you’ll lose it. But if you lose your life for his sake you’ll actually find it. By giving up and over control of your life, you’ll step into full life.
My favorite quote from this past year is from Erwin McManus’ book, The Way of The Warrior. Erwin says, “The thing is, you ultimately do not have control over your life. Peace does not come because you finally have control over your life. Peace comes when you no longer need control.” We can only have peace when we’re comfortable with God having unequivocal control.
God‘s not the author of bad. Humans broke this world, he didn’t. And while we live on a planet of pain and hurt, God will sometimes use circumstances and the brokenness of this world to teach us and shape us and get us to let go of our grip of control, as we elevate him as God of our lives. When I think back over David’s story of having been chosen by God to be king, yet finding himself fleeing for his life from a madman; having lost all control of “the plan for his life” seems to have kept David in a place of complete surrender. And complete confidence in God’s good.