Seeking God: Getting to the End of Self

 (c) Can Stock Photo

(c) Can Stock Photo

Finding Jesus Part II

In Finding Jesus Part I (Seeking God: When God Does Not Answer), we explored the idea that God is near us at all times, but we cannot connect with Him because of us. We are the problem; we get in the way of “finding” God, and in order to “find God”, we must get out of the way (lose ourselves).

I will explore getting to the end of self where we can find God in this piece and follow it up with a look at Finding Jesus Part III (Seeking God: Different Paths and the conclusion: Finding Jesus Part IV (Seeking God: Finding Jesus)!

But first, I want to relate a conversation I had with my daughter. She told me that she has called out to God in the past, but he was not there. He didn’t respond, and she was discouraged.

I have been there too. I’ve called out to God at times in my past, and God didn’t respond. One time in particular, it was as if I was talking to the clouds, and my words were bouncing back at me.

I distinctly remember that time. I was perplexed, not knowing which direction to go. I had life choices ahead of me that were mutually exclusive. They were widely divergent paths, and I was torn. I was either going to go back to college for my senior year, or I was going to drop out.

The time for making the decision was approaching, and I cried out to God one Saturday at home all alone, and God seemed to be nowhere near me. My words seemed to sink to the ground unheard. The clouds seemed to form a barrier between me and God. I was utterly perplexed.

I was beside myself with angst and with doubt. I didn’t doubt that God existed, but I doubted my own relationship with God. I doubted that God was with me in that moment, and I doubted that he could hear me and respond to me. I thought that I was falling away into heresy, and that either way I turned was possibly the wrong way to go.

I got up from where I was sitting. I walked out to the backyard of my parent’s house, and I sat down on a rock under a hawthorn tree. I was deeply absorbed in all these things that I was thinking about, worrying about, and caught up in the worry that I was possibly making a decision that would take me the opposite direction of God, the opposite direction of where I wanted deeply in my heart to go.

I was so absorbed in these thoughts, that I didn’t notice a snake – right at my feet! When I looked down at my feet, I saw a three foot snake, and it shocked me to the core! The snake had a frog caught halfway in its mouth, legs sticking out!

Why didn’t I see the snake before I sat down on the rock? … How could I have walked right past it without seeing it?!

How did that snake get there?!

Then, I froze and immediately thought of my own situation -I was like that frog caught in the snake’s mouth!

What kind of a sign is this?!!

I was too spooked to remain on the rock, snake at my feet, so I got up quickly and went back into the house. I was shaken. It seemed surreal….

Was this the devil taunting me? … Or was it a sign from God?

This literally happened to me. I am describing exactly what happened as it happened. I remember thinking:

If this is a sign from God, was He telling me that I was doomed? …. Was He telling me I was already in Satan’s mouth!?

This is where I fell back on my knowledge of scripture: God is love.[1] God is sovereign.[2] God desires that none perish and that all might be saved.[3]

Curiously, however, the thinking that God is love or that God desires that none perish is not what led me to peace. I did not know in that moment if I was counted among the lost or the saved. I did not know if God really loved me.

The thought that gave me peace was this: God is sovereign. God is God.

I did not have to figure out where God was; God was where he should be. This realization that God is God somehow brought me peace!

In that moment, did not know whether I was saved or not saved. I was afraid that I was not saved, that I was lost because I could not see or discern the truth. I was at a Crossroads of Truth, and I didn’t know which way to go. In fact, I was somewhat convinced that I was doomed because of my inability to know the truth.

Yet, inexplicably, the thought that God is sovereign, that God is God, gave me peace.

I have always wondered why.

I think now I know. The thought that “God loves me” is ultimately a selfish idea from my perspective. That God is God, regardless of who I am and whether He has “saved” me is selfless. The fact that I deeply acquiesced to the sovereignty of God gave me comfort because I had come to the place where my life didn’t matter.

In that moment, I came to the end of myself. That encounter with the snake and the frog shook me and spiked the angst I was feeling until I realized that I am not the captain of my own soul. In that moment, I gave up striving; I gave up trying to understand and to know in my own self what way I should go; and I simply rested on the knowledge of God.

I ceased striving, and I only knew that God was God.

I died quite a bit to myself that day, and I gained a little more of God in me. What I experienced in the days, weeks, months and years after that day was liberating! I was learning the meaning of these words that Jesus spoke:

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”[4]

Going back to the conversation with my daughter and the first piece in the series about Finding Jesus Part I (Seeking God: When God Does Not Answer), we must get to the end of ourselves to find God. But, when we get to the end of self, what is next?

We will explore that next in Finding Jesus Part III (Seeking God: Different Paths), and well take a quick look at the difference between Buddhism and Christianity on the way.


[1] 1 John 4:8, 16

[2] “God does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3); God’s purpose will be established” (Isaiah 46:10); “No purpose of God’s can be thwarted” (Job 42:2); “Those who contend with the Lord shall be shattered” (1 Samuel 2:10)

[3] 2 Peter 3:9

[4] Luke 9:23-24

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