“Seek, and ye shall find.” Luke 11: 9.
This word is a promise of Jesus, and on this account sure and certain. His truth and faithfulness are like His love to sinners, the pledge that every one who truly seeks shall certainly find. And yet there are so many that apparently seek sincerely and earnestly, and yet complain that they do not find. Whence arises this failure? Amongst other reasons, a principal one is that they do not know what finding is. They have a wrong idea of this finding; so that they have probably found, and yet continue seeking. And this arises chiefly from the fact of their not understanding that not only seeking and praying, but also finding must take place by faith.
To use an illustration: I have a heavy debt, and must go to prison, because I cannot pay it. I seek for a surety, but can nowhere find one. Then I receive a letter from a friend who has heard of my misfortune, telling me that he will become my surety: he will come at the first opportunity to release me. Shall I then not say that I have found a surety?
Every one who truly seeks shall certainly findAnd that not otherwise than by faith. I have not yet spoken to the man, I have not yet received the money, and yet out of trust in his letter, and because I place reliance on his word, I still say: I have found a surety. It might possibly happen that experience here would be in conflict with faith. Perchance I might be taken to prison on account of my debt, and my actual experience at that time, when I looked round on the gloomy abode, might possibly say, “I have no surety”; but faith would still say, “I have found a surety; I know my friend will certainly come. I have only to wait a little, when he will appear for my release.” The real experience then comes later — after the finding.
Not otherwise is it with the finding of the Lord Jesus. The awakened sinner seeks all round for a surety to meet his debt, to deliver his soul, but nowhere finds one. Then comes to him the word of God, with the message: “Christ is a propitiation for the sin of the whole world.” The soul has only to receive that word, and then by faith it has found a Redeemer. And according as it occupies itself with that word, so as to be persuaded that the message is also for it, the more does it become strengthened in the conviction: “The Redeemer: is also for me — God has said it”; until at last it learns to say with gladness: “I have found the Savior.” Mark it well, all this takes place simply and only by faith in the word. It may be that the soul’s experience is still in conflict with this confession. It often feels itself very sinful, corrupt, perverted from God, as if it were in a gloomy dungeon, and it asks: “If it be true that I have found the Savior, why is it thus with me?”
“I have found a surety; I know my friend will certainly come. I have only to wait a little, when he will appear for my release.”But it remembers that the finding of the Redeemer precedes the real experience of redemption. It comforts itself with the thought that the Lord is honored by the faith which holds fast His word as truth, and that it is by trial that faith becomes prepared alike to contemplate and to enjoy. First finding, receiving in faith; then later, actual experience.
Seeking soul, Jesus is to be found. He is not far from you, so that you must still for a long time seek Him, but very near. For He seeks you. Only believe this, hem yourself round with this: “Jesus seeks me, and is bent on having me.” Let the word of God’s grace fill your heart, and out of the word you will speedily say in faith: “I have found Him whom my soul desires, Jesus, the Savior of sinners.”