If I asked you to describe a situation where you were “desperate”, what comes to mind? Are you recalling about nine months ago when half the country was “desperate” for toilet paper? Or maybe it’s that time when your car broke down and you realized your cell phone only had 4% left?
Maybe it’s not desperate like having to go to the bathroom, or your car breaking down. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you are desperate. Maybe you are desperate because your world is slowly sinking and you aren’t sure what you can do. You are desperate for help, for direction... You’re desperate for God.
We talked about praying and fasting this past week. These are two spiritual activities that were often combined by the people of God when they were desperate. Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah are just a few of the people in the Bible who had times of prayer and fasting during a season of personal or national desperation. When God’s people were desperate, they went to God. And they did so with prayer and fasting.
But what if I told you God is desperate for YOU? What if told you that God, in all His glory and power, is more desperate for you than we are for him?
In Matthew 18, there’s an account of a lost sheep that shows how desperate God is for us:
“If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14
Jesus tells this story to illustrate how much He loves us. He talks about a sheep, like a person, that wanders away and gets lost. When this happens, a shepherd will actually leave all the other sheep to look for the one that is lost. Jesus says that “Your Father in Heaven” is happier about finding you “in the same way” that the shepherd was about finding his lost sheep.
God is desperate to be close to you. I want you to think about that as you go through these 21 days of praying and fasting. As you grow closer to God, know that long before you started praying and fasting, God was already coming for you. Sometimes we don’t realize where we’ve wandered to. We can get so busy doing life that we can forget to live life and lose site of the life that God has for us when we “wander."
Sometimes, when we dedicate ourselves to a time of prayer and fasting, we can suddenly realize that we have been farther away from God than we realized. We’ve wandered. And when God shows up, it’s almost as if He says, “There you are! I’ve been looking for you. I was wondering where you had gone.”
God is desperately wanting to be close to you. Keep praying. Keep seeking. He'll find you.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8 NIV