TOO BIG TO MISS?
In 1642 the Dutch East India Company dispatched explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman to sail from the East Indies and search for Terra Australis. Terra Australis (“Land of the South”) was a hypothetical continent which appeared on maps between the 15th and 18th Centuries.
Now, no European had ever seen Terra Australis. But from antiquity scholars postulated its existence. This assumption was based on the idea that there must be large land masses in the Southern Hemisphere to balance out those in the Northern Hemisphere.
So, for the next ten months (1642-43) Tasman pursued the, as yet, undiscovered continent. But he never found it. Now, he did discover a smaller island which was later named in his honor – Tasmania. But for ten months Tasman completely encircled Australia without ever coming in sight of its shores. His initial report: No such continent existed.
Now, in fairness to Tasman, on a later journey (1644) the Dutch explorer reached the continent and surveyed its northern coast. But a
map of Tasman’s first voyage leaves an observer wondering, “How could he possibly miss something as big as Australia?” “How could he completely encircle the continent and come so close, yet never see it?”
But it happened. Compare this to science’s quest to discover “dark matter.” Eighty-five percent of the mass of the universe is supposed to consist of dark matter. Yet its presence continues to elude us.
You know, for some troubled souls, this illustrates their quest to find and know God. I suspect most Christian believers would say trying to find God is like trying to find air. Air is inescapable and presses on us from all sides at 14.7 pounds per square inch. How can we possibly miss it? Yet some people seem to miss God. Why?
I can’t answer that fully. Perhaps it’s a matter of timing. It’s as if our hearts must be prepared before we can come to grips with God. It’s like a baby still in the womb who’s not yet ready to breathe the air, or like a house that’s not fully built and cannot yet be occupied. Our hearts must first make room for God before He can reveal Himself to us.
Do you remember Jesus’ words in John 16:12? He said, “I have many more things to say to you but you cannot bear them now.” Sometimes we’re just not yet ready or receptive. Therefore, God doesn’t waste time knocking on our heart’s door when we’re not yet ready to let Him in (Revelation 3:20).
Perhaps it’s a matter of our own expectations. Maybe we’re expecting a “bolt from the blue” to hit us (as with Paul in Acts 9:3-19). But God may intend to reach us through a quiet realization of His presence (as with Nathaniel in John 1:43-51). Maybe we’ve heard of another person’s dramatic encounter with God and we see it as the standard. But God reaches us on our own wavelength. He speaks to us in our own language, not someone else’s.
And perhaps we’re looking or trying too hard, maybe out of a sense of fear. People often miss God by running ahead of Him. But we must allow God to be God. There is a place in the Bible where God says, “I was found by those who sought Me not. I became manifest to those who did not ask for Me” (Romans 10:20).
Remember, long before we were born God took the initiative to save humanity by sending His one and only Son to bear our sins and be punished in our place. God already devised a plan to save you back in eternity. So, we must acknowledge our own helplessness to save ourselves and our need for Him to do so. Truthfully, we need God’s help just to ask for His help. It’s best to honestly confess this to God and realize only His power, unconditional love, and unmerited favor can save us.
If none of these reasons apply to you and you still cannot seem to find God, please do not despair. Read through the Gospels in the New Testament, asking Jesus to reveal Himself to you. Attend a Bible-believing church and ask God to open your heart to Him and His word. God cares infinitely more about you than you do for yourself – and He’s simply too big to miss for long.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You said in Your word that You came to seek and to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). So, Lord, please seek me. I can’t find you in my own power. I need You, Lord, to reach me. Please, dear Jesus, speak to my heart and help me to hear, listen, and obey. Amen.
(Information from: Asimov, Isaac; Book of Facts, Wings Books, New York, pp.110-11; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abel_Tasman; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_Australis#Provine_of_Beach)