YOU CAN’T FIND GOD IN NORTH CAROLINA
A Rabid Fundamentalist column
John W. Cowart
According to a old book about odd wills (probably apocryphal) an eccentric lady who lived in Cherokee County, N.C., died and left her property to -- God.
The probate court, attempting to honor her wishes, went through the motions of summoning God to court for the settlement.
He did not appear.
Pursuing both letter and spirit of the law, the court instructed the local sheriff to locate the designated heir.
After a time the sheriff duly reported, "Having searched diligently I have determined that you can not find God in Cherokee County, N.C."
If God is not in North Carolina, then where would you find him then?
A missionary on leave from service in India told me that he had seen a man go from boulder to boulder in the desert knocking on each rock and calling out, "Are you there? Are you there?"
When asked, the man explained he had heard that a god lived among the rocks and he was looking so he could worship it.
Once I talked with a young woman who was pushing a baby stroller. In it rested a severely deformed and retarded child.
"Where was God when he was born," she said bitterly pointing at her son.
I didn’t have an answer.
Where is God?
Read any newspaper and the devil is usually right there in big print on the front page, but where is God?
A basic tenant of Christian theology says that God is omnipresent; that means He is everywhere, in all places at all times, unlimited by distance.
"In Him we live and move and have our being," St. Paul told the philosophers of Athens.
The picture which the Scripture gives of God's omnipresence reminds me of a piping hot, batter-fried shrimp.
The shrimp is me.
The covering batter is the world around me.
The oil coating the whole is the extended universe.
Well, God is the heat permeating the whole thing.
The Bible teaches that God is in nature -- or more correctly that nature is in God:
"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof,” said the Psalmist.
The Bible teaches that God is in Christ, His son:
St. Paul said, "God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself “.
Oddly enough, the Bible teaches that God is in his people, the church. That has to be a divine revelation because you’d never guess it from some of the churches I’ve been around.
Nevertheless, Jesus did say, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
The Bible teaches that God is willing to come into the hearts of sinners who repent, folks like you and me:
In the last book of the Bible Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me."
How about that?
God at our very door.
Knocking to come in.
The Bible teaches that God delights to be discovered by those who truly seek him:
An old hymn, based on Isaiah 44:3, says,
I will pour water on him who is thirsty.
I will pour floods upon the dry ground.
Open your hearts to the gift I am bringing;
while ye are seeking me, I will be found.
So, where is God?
Once while in prison, French mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon prayed questioning, “O God, where are you”?
She said the Spirit answered her saying, While you were running around, I was seeking you.
While you were running around…
The apostle James said, "God is neigh."
How about that?
God is near.
Close as thought. Close as prayer. Close as your heart's desire.
In Him we live and move and have our very being.
But, the trouble with an omnipresent God is that he's too close. He crowds us. He moves in on our turf; Hey, I'm the king of this corner.
There are times when we all wish He'd back off, go hide under that rock in India, don't meddle in our affairs.
We become aware of his presence at the most inconvenient times.
Yes indeed, sometimes, God is not only here and there, but right underfoot.
You see, while we dabble at searching for God and go through all the right religious motions, God is everywhere and at all times seeking for us:
Remember, after the first sin of mankind, the very first thing God said was, "Adam, where are you?"
God asked, “Where are you”?
Man, of course, was hiding in the bushes stark naked.
In all these years, nothing has changed.
Hiding from God is how we spend most of our time to this very day.
Adam set the historical president of God's looking for man while man hides -- yet, like college sophomores, or dilettantes, or Mr. Worldy Wise Man, we make a big display of being Seekers after God. That attitude makes us the active, important one in the process. It’s so much nicer to say, “I’m a seeker after God” than to have to say, “I’m a sneak hiding from God”.
"Where is God? Where is God," we cry, as though He were the one hiding.
Where is God when the drugs I took deform my child? Where is God when the car breaks down? Where is God when the rent comes due? Where is God when I get fired off my job?
Where is God at those times when I command His appearance front and center at my convenience.
I want Him when I want Him and where I want Him.
He shouldn’t move from where I left Him.
He should stay in his place.
He really ought to jump when I snap.
But He doesn’t!
What kind of God is this anyhow?
He is Creator and the universe he created exists in the palm of his hand.
He is its Maker, Master and Means of support.
In Him we live and move and have our very being.
If so, then why in the world is God looking for us?
What is it that He wants?
Why does he call our names and seek out our hiding places?
The Bible tells us why:
An obscure prophet called Hanani The Seer (II Chrinicles 16:9) came to King Asa and told him, “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him”.
Yes the eyes of God range to and fro throughout the whole universe…
The eyes of God range to and fro throughout the whole world…
The eyes of God roam back and forth across your whole country…
The eyes of God look up and down the streets of your city…
They eyes of God search and search and search for a certain kind of person, for you. For a person whose heart is fully committed to Him, who is seeking Him, who is willing to stop hiding and be found by He who came to seek and to save the lost.
Why is God looking for you?
What did the Seer say?
To show Himself strong in your behalf.
Isn’t that something?
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