“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
- Psalm 139:23
Both my brother and I are clear products of our childhood in Calcutta, India. We lived within walking distance of 12 different cinema halls, and we frequently spent our allowance on tickets to the latest Bollywood films.
Fast forwarding to the present, my brother celebrated his 25th Wedding Anniversary last year. And how do you think he celebrated this wonderful milestone? He watched the new Hindi movie, Agneepath. Just as he was exiting the movie hall, I called to offer my congratulations. “It was intense throughout,” he responded, leaving it unclear as to whether he was talking about his 25 years of marriage or the movie. Wisdom prevailed as I avoided asking for clarification.
Meanwhile, as I wondered at the speck in my brother’s eye, I balanced a 5x9 foot plank in mine. I was sitting at home, previewing a trailer for the movie, Talaash, starring the famous Hindi actor, Aamir Khan. Aamir Khan plays the role of a policeman who is trying to find the truth in a growing conspiracy. The trailer ended with a sentence that caught my attention:
“When you are looking for the truth, a lot of lies gets discovered. Are your ready for it?”
In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:25 says:
“So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly.”
“Talaash” is a Hindi word meaning, “search,” about which the Bible presents some amazing insights. The first book in the Bible begins with God searching for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. These first human beings had just disobeyed one of God’s clear instructions, and here they now were, trying to hide from Him amongst the bushes and trees.
In the books that follow, we see Moses trying to wiggle free from following God’s instructions, and then Jonah literally sailing away from something God told him to do. Both men tried to hide from God, and, like Adam and Eve, they were unsuccessful.
The Bible, as well as the whole of mankind’s history, is full of instances where people have tried to play hide and seek with God. It is not always this way, however. Sometimes we are the ones trying to find God, and having a difficult time doing so. I find this particularly true in times of suffering, when we wonder if God is hiding from us. Or when we are seeking God’s wisdom, only to receive an answer that we do not quite understand or expect.
“Then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.” -Ecclesiastes 8:17
The silver lining in all of this is the fact that God is the one who is constantly searching and looking out for us. Jesus shares two parables about the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin (Luke 15:1 to 10) that share this message. When both were lost, the owner of each searched high and low, day and night, until they were found. When they were found, their owners celebrated with great joy. In the same way, God seeks diligently after us so that we may be joyfully united with him.
God is concerned for the lost:
It is by the grace of God that Jesus came down to earth in search of us. Ezekial 34:11 says: “For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.
God is concerned about you:
You are the apple of God’s eyes and He has your name written in the palm of His hand. Jesus died so that you might live, and he lives today so that you can enjoy the gift of eternal life.
In Luke 19:1-10, when Jesus is walking with a large crowd in Jericho, he finds a tax collector named Zaccheus sitting high in a tree in an attempt to get a better look at Jesus. Jesus calls for Zaccheus by name and then accompanies him to his home. In this story, you might think that it is Zaccheus who is seeking Jesus, yet Jesus reveals to us a more wonderful truth. God knows us by name and is searching for us, before we even begin our search for him.
Again, when Jesus is walking through a crowd and a sick woman touches the helm of his garment, he stops and asks: “Who touched me?”
Jesus is never overwhelmed by the size of a crowd. The people seeking his presence are neither just faces nor numbers. He can discern a single touch from a woman desperate for answers. He knows us better than we know ourselves, and desires that we experience all of the good that he has prepared, both now and forever.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
“In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.” -Deuteronomy 1:32-33
How, then, are we to respond? This is the guidance we get in 1 Chronicles 28:9:
“And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”
I offer an analogy that means no disrespect, but, in a sense, I see God like Aamir Khan, in the movie, Talaash. He searches relentlessly and offers up his very life to find that which is lost.
“For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Talaash. Are you ready?