In the summer of 2009, I was serving at a youth conference far from home, exhausted, confused, and bitter. For the first time ever, I heard the song “the more I seek You” by Kari Jobe. I was struck by the words and the intimacy that the melody cooed. I can still remember that feeling in my heart of wanting to understand the lyrics on a deeper level. I wanted to seek, find, be sought, be found. It was at that conference that I had confirmed in my mind the 3 month sabbatical I was going to request to spend some time at the house of prayer. I had been serving as a youth pastor for about two years by that point and I felt further away from God than ever. Where did He go?
The first night I landed at IHOP, I was dazed, confused, and terrified. Everyone seemed super strange to me and I simply felt that I did not belong. I hate the feeling of not belonging, it’s actually one of my greatest fears. I stood by myself in the back of the prayer room, arms crossed, observing all the strangers pacing around the room. The worship transitioned into “the more I seek You” and I suddenly felt my anxieties hushed. I let myself sink into the moment as I remembered that I came out to seek Him more. Maybe, just maybe, I would find Him.
The last night of IHOP, I sat in the back of the prayer room heartbroken, confused, and unready to leave. I sat in the healing row chairs and let the tears flow without even trying to dry a single one. I wondered why I had to go back home, but also why I felt so obligated to go back home. Why was I so led by obligation? And why were so many others free to stay for another three months and enjoy God there in that place while I had to go back home to duties? I questioned if I could feel what I had felt in those past 3 months ever again. In between my tears “the more I seek You” began and I remember thinking this was too great a coincidence. Was… was the Lord speaking to me once again here? I had not heard that song during my entire time there, and here it was again. Perhaps He was whispering something one last time before I left…
I flew back for a visit about a year later yearning, confused, and curious. Life was different, I was different. I wanted to take a few days away from work and school to visit my prayer room, my sweet prayer room. A few hours before my flight back home, I visited the prayer room for a final set. I sat five rows from the front where Matt Gilman was leading. I began journaling when all of a sudden…. yes. Yes yes yes. As he crooned out “drink from the cup in Your hand” I lost it. I began crying so deeply as it took numerous attempts from the heart of God to reach my very confused heart. I had been confused for far too long….
I had believed that God was only in a certain place or a certain circumstance. I felt that when I was not in that place or in that circumstance, then I was not with Him. I felt this yearning, this longing, this missing of Him. And as I heard this song over and over and over again the truth of Him just wanting me – all of me – where ever, whenever, however slowly, oh so so so slowly, began to sync in. As I’ve prayed and cried through this songs numerous times, I’ve finally realized how much the Lord is constantly seeking us. As if He was trying for so long to get me to understand the truth that the reason I find Him the more I seek Him is because He is simply right there waiting, easy to be found.
My seeking Him isn’t about going to a special place or receiving a special prayer. My seeking Him is simply responding “here I am, Lord – speak for I am listening!”.
I’m ever bewildered by a God who sits patiently for us and responds when we respond. I think to how many times I’ve prayed and asked God if He’s heard my prayer. So many times when I’ve asked God why He hasn’t responded. The times I’ve repeated the same prayer over and over again in case He didn’t “get it” the first time. This is the God who sang to me the same love song over and over and over again patiently in the same spot just so I could finally hear Him say… that He’s always speaking. He’s always listening. He’s always responding. The God of all creation sits waiting. Waiting for us to take the cup. Waiting to be breathed in. Waiting to be sought and found. If we would only seek Him.
Fun fact – this is actually the set that I sat in! MG and I actually made eye contact at one point and I chuckled a bit because he looked confused and borderline concerned as to why this young woman was sitting center of the prayer room alone just bawling her eyes out in the middle of the day. I’m amazed and elated that someone just happened to film this.