Are you desperate? Is there something you are facing that is beyond your ability or capacity to do anything about? Good; you are right where God wants you to be.
Do we worship a sadistic God? Not at all. We worship a Father who knows his children all too well. When we are desperate, we move closer to him. When we are satisfied, we move away.
Look at Israel. Every time they were at peace and had everything they wanted, they moved away from God and sought out false gods. Whenever enemies were attacking they grew desperate and turned back to God; and he always rescued them.
Look at Solomon. He had everything he wanted; rich beyond compare. He ended up following the gods of his hundreds of wives and concubines because he was not desperate for God. In the end this "wise" king was a fool and the dynasty fell apart. Yet,when he was young and afraid of the responsibilities he was given, he was desperate and called out to God and God was pleased to respond.
When was Israel the strongest? When they were desperate for provision in the desert. The generation that emerged from that 40 years of dependence on God every day was the strongest generation that ever walked this planet.
Why did God send his chosen people into exile? Because he had to make them desperate again so that they would seek him. They had forgotten how to be dependent. They were lost to him and he needed to wake them up before he lost them completely. Why do families do interventions when a member is killing themselves on drugs or alcohol? It seems cruel at the time but they are desperate to get through to that person, to save them. God is forced to do intervention with us when we turn from him and face certain death.
What did God say to Solomon after the temple was built? Listen to the heart of a Father who knows his children and has a plan to save them:
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
When do people seek the face of God? When are they interested in knowing him better? When do they start praying without ceasing? When they are desperate. It is amazing how desperation gives birth to determination. I am determined to see God because I am desperate for him. However, now I have the maturity that it does not take provision to provoke me to desperation. My desperation comes when I feel absent from God. I am desperate for his presence because I know I have nothing and am nothing without him.
However, when I was younger, my greatest growth in faith came every time I was forced to seek Jesus for protection and provision. I was desperate to be aware of his presence; desperate to be reminded of his promises; desperate to know deeply his love, compassion and grace. It was in those weary moments, panicked moments, lonely and desperate moments that Jesus became real like never before.
There is nothing wrong with desperate moments. Like Paul discovered, it is when we discover God's grace is sufficient and that in our weakness he shines brightest. In these moments we can often react like Paul as we are overwhelmed by the beauty of our Lord: I want to be weak all the time!
It is unfortunate that our old nature still tries to convince us that our Father wants us independent and strong. Just like the Israelites, our relationship with God is filled with great intimacy and great independence, and it is in those moments of independence that we set up other gods. We live in such times now, as we rely on everything but God.
We need renewal in our relationship but it isn't going to happen until we are desperate for him. To seek his face requires determination but determination requires desperation. Do you see what we have become? Do you see how far we have wandered away? Do you see how independent, self-sufficient we are? Does God really need to allow disaster upon us before we wake up, before we become desperate? Can't we hear his voice now? Won't we respond now? Haven't we learned from the generations before us? Why aren't we desperate?