by Steppes of Faith
“…You will seek the Lord your God and you will find him if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29
Have you ever wondered what Jesus was doing all those years when He was growing up? The Bible doesn’t record any of it except for once when He was twelve years old.
That was the year Jesus and His family went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover Week. They and their neighbors did it every year. The week was filled with listening to Temple teachers and religious music, and sharing ritual meals as they commemorated how God rescued them from Egypt and Pharaoh’s army over a thousand years before.
At the end of the week, the family packed up and headed back home. The Bible tells us that Mary and Joseph noticed their Son was missing after a few days of travel. They couldn’t find Him anywhere, so they hurried back to Jerusalem to look for Him.
After three days of searching, Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple talking to the Jewish leaders and asking them questions. If you’re a parent, you can probably imagine the relief His parents felt when they finally found Him. They quickly asked Him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought you anxiously (Luke 2:28).”
Searching for Jesus
Okay, let’s back up for a quick moment.
You may be wondering why it took Mary and Joseph so long to figure out that their son was missing. How could they not know, right? I mean, I can’t go two minutes without checking to see that all my little chicks are still with me in the grocery store. How could Mary and Joseph go three days before they wondered where Jesus was as they crossed the desert?
Remember I said they went to Jerusalem with their neighbors? There were hundreds of them! It was customary for the kids to travel in one group with older siblings and caretakers while the parents and elders traveled in a separate group. Jesus’ parents — and all the parents there — had full confidence that their kids were being properly cared for and supervised. They had no reason to worry.
The Bible doesn’t tell us why Mary and Joseph suddenly began looking for Jesus. Nevertheless, they did, and He was nowhere in sight, so the only thing to do was retrace their steps and go back to Jerusalem. They searched all over the city until they found Jesus still in the Temple talking to the teachers and asking them questions (Luke 2:46).
Again, the Bible doesn’t tell us why Jesus was asking questions. Most people tend to believe He was asking questions about things He didn’t know. But, let’s not forget…He’s God! He knows everything already! So, it’s more likely Jesus was quizzing the teachers about what they knew, which explains verse 47: “And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.”
Where God Is
In the middle of pop quiz time, in walks Mary and Joseph in a panic saying, “Son, where have You been?” Jesus’ reply is a good one for all us: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Mary and Joseph had forgotten their Son was no ordinary boy. They had forgotten His divinity. And in their defense, I think I would have forgotten too in a situation like this. But the point here is Jesus’ response to them, why didn’t you know where to find Me?
It’s a great question for all of us. Do we truly know where to find Jesus? Yes, He’s omnipresent, He’s everywhere. But where do we actually find Him? Maybe the better question is how do we find Him?
Make a point to get alone and quiet with God every day. You might have a prayer closet, or simply kneel next to your couch, or maybe go outside with the warm sun on your face. It doesn’t matter where you pray. Just pray!
Don’t know how to pray? It’s easier than you think.
Start by praising Him and thanking Him for all He does for you (your house, food in the fridge, your car, your family, your job, etc.). Ask Him for what you need, then follow it up with silence. Let God respond to you. Give Him a chance to talk and answer your questions.
Above all, talk to God like you talk to your spouse, friend, neighbor, coworker. Speak in a natural, casual voice. God isn’t impressed with any “Christian-ese” words or tone. They don’t have any magic. So just relax. Take a deep breath, put your guard down, and lean into His love and grace.
You’ll find it hard wanting to end your prayer time, believe me. His presence is so sweet.
Read the Bible
You can’t seek God if you don’t know what He’s trying to teach you through His word. I know it can seem like dry reading at times, but that’s why I’m here to help you discover the richness of culture and context the Bible has. It’s actually a very fascinating book.
You can follow a Bible reading plan, or set aside 15 minutes every day, or you can simply start at Genesis 1:1 and keep going at your own pace until you reach Revelation. However you want to do it is fine. Just make a concerted effort to read every day, not through a book or a devotion but the real Holy Bible.
After a while, the Holy Spirit will begin working in your heart, and your faith and understanding will soon begin to grow. You’ll learn things about God I swear will blow your mind. He’s so amazing!
If you want to search for Jesus, the Bible says, “…You will seek the Lord your God and you will find him if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).”
The answer is to seek the Lord where He can be found, in prayer and through His word. He’s waiting for you there.