Bible Passage for Meditation: Jeremiah 29:10-14
Key Verse: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13
“You should’ve seen Nathan* before the seminary!” Bobby said about our mutual pastor friend one day. “He was super scrawny and thin!” [*Pastor Nathan, whose name has been changed to protect privacy, is a very muscle-bound man.]
Bobby continued, “However, when he came back to visit recently, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I asked him what had happened during his time at the seminary. He simply responded, ‘There isn’t much to do in Michigan.’ So I guess he spent all his time at the gym.”
My friend Bobby had no idea, but God used this conversation to set the stage for a radical change in my Christian walk.
Not long after, my wife and I moved to Andrews University so that I could attend the seminary. I’d already been working as a pastor for a couple years, and I expected to learn many helpful things, but to be honest, I didn’t expect to experience a huge personal revival. But thankfully God had other plans for me.
While there were many things during my time at the seminary that God used to awaken me to my need for a deeper personal walk with Him (including prayer partners, prayer journaling, Bible study and more) one of the things that impacted me most was that conversation about Pastor Nathan.
Not long after, I told a long-time friend and prayer partner, “What if we do the same thing Nathan did, but instead of hitting the gym, we take extra time and energy to focus on our personal walk and connection with God? I want to be spiritually buff!”
And so began a radical journey as I committed to seek God more earnestly than ever before.
This commitment forced me to make some changes that weren’t easy. In high school I had been willing to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to train intensely, for hours on end, in order to become the best athlete possible. I had also committed to eating an extremely healthy diet (vegan and no refined sugar) for several years in order to have energy for a particular athletic event. But could I make the same sacrifices in order to have extra energy to get up early and spend hours with my best friend Jesus?
What made it so difficult was that I really liked sleeping in. And I didn’t even know how to keep awake while reading the Bible early in the morning. Also I didn’t want to give up some of the unhealthy food that I really thought I needed. So I simply began crying out to God to change my heart; To give me a heart to know Him (Jer. 24:7). And I kept claiming the promise of Jer. 29:13 that says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
Those following two years, God gave me a desire to seek Him whole-heartedly as I’ve never had before. And when my time at the seminary was over, and my wife and I had the moving truck packed for our return to California, I was so in awe at what God had done, that I simply had to kneel down on the ground and thank Him for how He had changed me in so many ways; ways I didn’t even know needed to be changed.
I’m still not as spiritually buff as I want to be, but God is working, and I praise Him for His patience and tender mercy in my life.
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Precious Father in Heaven, Thank You that You are always faithful to Your promises. As we continue praying for our church, please give us a heart that desires to know You more, for what we desire to see happen in our church must first happen in our own lives. Lord, we surrender the stuff that is holding us back today. Take away all our small expectations and give us a heart to truly seek more from You. Please help us to fall so in love with You that nothing else matters as much as being with You. Amen.
By Zac Page
(Zac is pastor at Templeton Hills SDA Church, in Templeton, California. He and his wife, Leah, have been married seven years and speak at revival and prayer retreats. To read more of Pastor Zac’s personal testimony, CLICK HERE.)