Still haven’t found what I’m looking for

Seeking and finding are not mutually exclusive; they are two sides of the same coin. Finding does not mean you have ceased seeking; nor does the fact that you are still seeking mean you haven’t found anything. Seeking and finding go on and on. They are both important ingredients in the process of spiritual discovery. They are both a part of believing. It’s a delicate balancing act with dogmatism on one end and autonomy on the other. The reason we get into arguments over things like this is we are uncomfortable with being in the middle, but that is the beauty of paradox.

To sing along with U2, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,” does not mean you have rejected the concept of truth or that you are going to pick and choose your own idea of truth; it can mean that you have come to realize that truth is not a static thing. It moves and grows with your experience of it.

Truth is both objective and subjective. Truth to be truly true has to be true outside of my experience of it; yet that does not rule out the fact that my experience of truth grows and may even change with my understanding of it.

If Jesus said He is the truth (which He did), is that the end of the matter or just the beginning?

This is what makes so many Christians unattractive to those outside the faith because they make arrogant statements that say in effect “We have the truth and you don’t.” What would it be like if we said, “We have the truth, and we don’t”? Or what if we said, “We have the truth and you do too. Tell us what you know of the truth and we’ll tell you what we have come to know”? This might sound scary to some, but it is part and parcel to faith and might be a breath of fresh air to unbelievers.

Truth is much bigger than we can define or wrap our arms around unless, of course, you can tell me all there is to know about Jesus and what the knowledge of Him informs us about the world around us. Seeking and finding – doubting and believing – are all a part of the same thing.

Got Jesus? Good. Let’s find out what this is all about!

“I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

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26 Responses to Still haven’t found what I’m looking for

  1. Ralph Gaily says:

    John… I can’t believe the confusion you sow sometimes to those listening to you! The above hyper-intellectualism you just spewed out is full of what plagues the Church these days. A couple of things: “seeking and finding”, both the same thing!!?? No. When you find your “lost coin”, you put it in your pocket and rejoice…. then make use of it…. you don’t keep “searching” for it! Your U2 example: Maybe, as a fellow musician, you look up to their “spirituality” too much. U2 lyrics are not a proper example of how to study the Bible in my opinion…. “I still haven’t found what I’m lookin’ for”, doesn’t mean that Bono “has come to realize that truth is not a static thing…. it moves and grows with your experience of “it”. It means he hasn’t found what he’s lookin’ for. First of all, the Truth is not an “it”…. “it” is a HE! …Jesus Christ ….and, He is not just the “end of the matter, or just the beginning”, as you put it…. He is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning, and the end, the first and the last”….. Jesus’ words! And, on not being “a static thing”, “moving and growing with your experience of it” ….what does “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever” mean in your understanding? He sounds quite static to me…like a Rock! We are the ones that change, and doubting is one of the changes we experience as we stumble over our proud and cumbersome intellects along the way. “My ways are not your ways”, He says…. and “my thoughts are not your thoughts”. These words are to be believed, not to undo! And these suggested phrases of yours to unbelievers: “we have the truth and we don’t”; “we have the truth and you do too”; and, “tell us what you know of the truth, and we’ll tell you what we have come to know”. GOOD GRIEF!! talk about opening a huge door of confusion! We either know Christ, and Him crucified, or we don’t ! If we don’t, we have nothing to offer someone seeking salvation. If we do know Him, we have everything we have been given to share with others. And we don’t have to know “all there is to know about Jesus”, to proclaim Him to others…… we just have to know Him…. like the apostles did, and everyone else since them has, that has believed the Gospel. This is our testimony, and it is powerful in the capable hands of the Holy Spirit….. if it is true….if, if fact we do know Him, and not just know ABOUT Him. Doubting and believing are NOT all a part of the same thing! …..just ask Thomas. And, regarding “this is what makes so many Christians unattractive to those outside the faith because they make arrogant statements….”. I wonder what all the thousands of martyrs down through the ages would have to say about that statement! Jesus was hated, not because of attractiveness, or unattractiveness, but because of who He was. This is part of the weight of the Cross we too bear. You are trying too hard to be “attractive” to the world in my observation, and others will follow your example. This is dangerous! The Gospel is a great divider of people….”And He said unto them, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned’ “. Mark 16:15,16 Hard words from the Creator of the world! Truth or untruth, each decides for themself. The proclaiming of the Good News of Christ crucified for the sins of the world, and His resurrection from the dead, needs to be crystal clear so even children can get it. Not a bunch of “high intellectualism”, showing off our brain power…. and doubts. It’s almost Easter…. get with the program! ….., Ralph Gaily, former doubter

    • John Quinlan says:

      Love your reply. I recall being very confused when I was searching for God and on how to “walk in Him” (Col. 2:6) once I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. In recalling my past confusion, I understand some of the points John Fisher is making. In fact, I still seek Him out (Ps 42:1) and I have found Him. I recall the freedom experienced in finally understanding (not confused) the truth and value greatly the fellowship of other believers whom stood strong in telling me the Biblical truth. Yes, at times their words were cutting (the truth will do that), but I needed to hear the truth in order to cut away the confusion and deepen my relationship with God. It is obvious that some can be dogmatic (or dilute) with the truth (leading to more confusion) verses being sensitive (yet cutting) with the truth (leading to freedom). That is why I enjoyed your input of the need for truth to change confusion into a right relationship with God.

    • Craig says:

      Dear Ralph –

      John is always one to shake us up, isn’t he? That is a part of why I keep coming back to The Catch day after day, year upon year. Whether I am able to nod in agreement or scratch my head in wonder, John challenges me to wrestle with what I believe.

      As a brother (albeit brothers who have never met!) in Christ, I wanted to take a moment to question the tone of your response. Certainly, it is clear that you are passionate which we all can appreciate. What also appears to be clear is that you are being quite unkind to John in your response to this particular Catch. Now the blogosphere does leave a lot to the imagination, but when you write GOOD GRIEF in all caps and end with “get with the program!” it stands to reason that you are not writing these words with a smile on your face. This being the case, your tenor of your response does nothing to encourage dialogue which is one of the tenants of The Catch community.

      I can say all of this to you with grace because I am prone to the exact same behavior. I have learned over the years (painfully) that whenever I speak in a sharp, harsh tone no one really wants to listen or engage in discussion with me. One of the lessons that I have learned from Scripture comes from the book of Philemon. In his letter, Paul is somehow able to strike the balance of being incredibly bold on one hand, but incredibly gracious on the other. I am learning to be mindful to take up Paul’s example – especially when I feel it necessary to confront.

      You’ve given us several Bible verses to consider as we process what John has put before us in this Catch. While I agree with the Truth that is reveal in the verses that you have quoted, I also resonate with much of what John has written in this entry. Following Christ is not as simple as I wish that it was. In that classic U2 song from the Joshua Tree album Bono sings, “You broke the bonds and loosed the chains/Carried the cross of my shame/Oh my shame/You know I believe it/But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…” Those words won’t be found in the canon of Scripture, but I do identify with that expression of the Christian journey. Thank you John for prodding us to wrestle with what it means to follow Christ and seek Him in this generation!

      • jwfisch says:

        Actually, Craig, Bono’s word are found in the canon of Scripture in Ecclesiastes. Solomon never found what he was looking for even in embracing the truth. As he concluded, that didn’t make it any less true.

  2. Mark S. says:

    Love this: “Tell us what you know of the truth and we’ll tell you what we have come to know”?” And believe I am going to use it too – Thx 4 it, Pastor John, appreciate it and you… 🙂

  3. Peter Leenheer says:

    Thank you very much for this incredible insight. Your meditation crystallized my thoughts. I had noticed that over the last 46 years my idea of the truth has grown(changed). God has mentored me, the more I seek Him the more He reveals. Thank you for explaining that so brilliantly. I will continue to doubt and seek! Complacency in search of the Truth makes for a very tiny God.

  4. Tom says:

    Incredible Catch! Thx John! “and the truth shall make you free.”

  5. James Geard says:

    How great it must be to have the assurance Ralph seems to have found.Seems Solomon could have benefited from spending some time with Ralph, as Solomn seemed( a little like me really) to have been less sure about matters arising under the sun when it came to the heading of what was/is truth.

    Solomon did mention there was a time for everything. In our suffering world, now may be the time for opening the doors for ALL who want to have a look in,( people are a little more likely to do that Ralph if , at least in the early stages there seems to be an “atractive” reason) and doing so with humility in our weakness.

    No doubt , there will be many others far wiser than Solomon that also have” got it all sorted ” for those of us that have not, embrace the joy of faith that comes from not knowing

  6. Mark Seguin says:

    James Geard, wanted to thank you for the great big chuckles this gave me: “Seems Solomon could have benefited from spending some time with Ralph…” and “No doubt , there will be many others far wiser than Solomon…” LOL 🙂

  7. Ralph Gaily says:

    James, & Mark S. …..Your sarcasm is noted. Solomon had a lot of things, but one thing he did not have is what even the youngest believer in Christ has…. fellowship with God Almighty through the work of His Holy Spirit given into his heart, through faith in God’s Son. Solomon, and Moses, and all the prophets of God longed for what we have. I’m telling you they longed for what has been given to every christian who has repented of his sins, and very simply embraced Jesus Christ, and all that He stands for, and all that He is, and all that He has promised us who believe….. not doubting! This requires the faith of a child. Not a lot of vain, pseudo-intellectualism straining at the simple words to make them more “attractive” to fallen minds with their clever reasoning and logic…. patting each other on the back for their high-thinking, and mutual enjoyment of the rarified air up there. I’m 65 years old now… a grand-father of two little ones that are my joy… I was an L.A. cop in the 60’s, and spent 25 yrs. as a fireman in a gang-infested city from which I am now retired, and glad to be done with it all….. too much misery! I hitchhiked out of L.A. looking for the Truth and a new life, and read the New Testament for the first time in Big Sur, Calif. out of a little Bible I paid $0.25 for at a swap meet. It was towards the end of John’s Gospel that finally the lights came on for me. Heavy conviction of my many sins, and the realization that this Jesus I had been studying, all alone on that mountain, died for Ralph…. miserable, sinner, Ralph! Stretched out with my face hard to the ground I wept like a boy…. till it was done…. made my peace with God… embraced God’s Son as my Saviour…. no one around but me and Him… and I then knew what God required of a man…. to trust in His Son! I haven’t been the same since! He came in! … changed everything! Much life since that day has happened…. forty years ago. Now, sometimes, I speak with a loud, crusty voice…. “all caps” is the new loudspeaker these days I guess, but big deal I say,….. it is very late! …… The signs are all around us… the time is now much shorter for His soon and sudden coming…. no time for games, political correctness, or dancing around the Truth. Those still “seeking” need to get off the fence and decide their destiny…their eternal destiny. Either He was a fraud, or the absolute TRUTH! No in-between. No compromise. No doubt. No one but Him. A sincere, honest, opening of your heart to Jesus, in simple faith, is what is needed….. if it is real, the Holy Spirit quietly takes up residence and begins His Holy work on/in you…. pointing to Jesus all along the way. It’s really quite amazing! Not always easy, but always amazing. If you too embrace Him, I pray you won’t be as crusty as me…. but if you have half the joy He has given me, you’ll know what I’m crowing about. ….,r

    • jwfisch says:

      Beautiful story, Ralph. My suggestion is that you stay right there at the cross and embrace us sinners there with you. Let’s be done with all this second guessing of each other.

      • Ralph Gaily says:

        I’ll continue to exercise the discernment that has been given me, and that includes who and what I embrace as a believer. Paul certainly didn’t embrace everything and everybody he encountered in his travels. And he definitely was not trying to be “attractive” to the world he encountered. He was wise without compromise, and the “modern christianity” going around right now, like “social justice”, would stir up his ire I’m sure. The problems we are facing right now are very subtle, and very dangerous, and the Gospel, as originally laid down deserves a firm defense. Some of your followers on this blog play fast and loose with the scriptures, and I rarely hear you correcting anything. Maybe you are too concerned with losing some of your financial base.. maybe not. I won’t “second guess” that. I’m willing to take the flak for the sake of some of the new believers. and honest seekers of Truth out there who see this site as a christian landmark, and misplace their trust in this, rather than make an honest search of the scriptures for themselves…. like the Bereans did, to their credit. Saw your recent video posted….. wish you would have stayed on track. I remember those days too. …,r

  8. Mark S. says:

    Mr. Ralph how dare you write this: “…if you have half the joy He has given me, you’ll know what I’m crowing about. ….,r” In my opinion, you can be at times simular to a know-it-modern day Pharisee, to even dare to write that – Mr. Gaily you DO NOT know me and I’m pretty sure you DO NOT know James G. either! I can absolutely guarantee you it is self evident because of what you have written, I more than likely have a bit more God given joy & happiness in my baby toe then you may or may not have… For saving me, right after High School and from spending the rest of my life things such as: more then likely being a stubborn, jackass drunk and only caring about myself and my feelings. Also from a very serious car accident, which put me into a coma for a few months and another reason, when i was 41 yrs old and had a stroke because I was born with a hole in my heart.

    I get a pretty good feeling regarding what is soooo darn simple for many, if not all of us here to see, yet you cannot because for whatever reason you have let yourself become a “right fighter” anyone who claims to have God given joy, yet can go on and on about, if it’s not the way I see it and understand it, what’s written in the word of God, then it’s wrong… That Ralph is the very same problem Jesus talked of about – in that it’s a heart issue. Also this devotion does a good job of what is read out of Matt. 7:7 “Ask, seek and knock…”

    And again in my opinion Ralph what you are “crowing” about is NOT having one ounce of people skills, or the love of Christ richly dwelling in your heart -other wise it would be harder to be sooo critical of Pastor John’s very good and well written devotion. Where is this joy Ralph? – because it surely isn’t evident here – as w/ most of your post…

    This I do 100% agree w/ you sir, because you have sooo often shown it here: “If you too embrace Him, pray you won’t be as crusty as me…” Again how dare you tell me or ANYONE else as far as that goes: “….If you too embrace Him…” Who gave you the right to judge me and if I have or have not “embrace” Him? A verse you may want to consider looking up and studying: “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and copmasions every man to his brother.” Zechariah 7:9 I’d love to know, how in your writings here to Pastor John and to you up-held that verse? I’ll empathise the word “copmasion” simply because you seem to me have a bit of trouble showning that to anyone who doesn’t think like you!

    PS Gosh darn may I please suggest Ralph not to just pray about this: “…you won’t be as crusty as me…” Yet very seriously consider doing something about it! Like pick up and read a good people skills book, as in Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” Because very often sir, you seem to show and only caring about your feelings, which is soooooooo wrong and to me and me alone, that is very funny… LOL 🙂

  9. Tim Morris says:

    I am always a day late on the good devotionals.
    I’m not searching for truth, and I’m not searching for Christ. I’m searching for the truth about how Christ fits in and belongs in my life. I’m not interested in answers as much as I’m interested in honesty.
    I used to feel more like Ralph and I spent most of my time with “Ralph’s”. I found in “truth”, no honesty. Ralph doesn’t know truth, he knows what he believes, and there could be truth in it.
    The Catch saved me from walking completely away from Christianity. How? As in today’s devotional, I found honesty.
    But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. Too honest?

    • Mark S. says:

      Tim, let me plz try to answer this: “But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. Too honest?” No Way! And I’ll do my best to encourage you to keep asking, knocking and searching… I too believe in the honor, respect of the search and even questioning and even not believing… I think God is big enough to handle it…

      • Ralph Gaily says:

        “….and even not believing…” !!! Good Grief ! Is this the fruit of “The Catch”? John Fischer.. where are you hiding. Come and defend this if you can! Mark is one of your staunchest advocates. Step up to the plate. I stand my ground on what I have spoken. …,r

    • Ralph Gaily says:

      ” I found in ‘truth’, no honesty”. Tim…. how can this be? …. when Jesus said,”…I am the Truth…”. have you found Him? …or just religion? ….,r

  10. Tim Morris says:

    The fruit of the Catch is a community of people that come from many walks discovering and rediscovering a faith that is relevant outside the walls of traditional Christianity. A faith that is focused on others rather that what’s in it for me. A faith that goes beyond mega church mentality that gathers like minded people for a great show every Sunday.
    The Catch is producing fruit that honers the least of those among us and sees the dignity of the poor, the poor in spirit and those estranged from a faith that left them shallow and alone.
    It is a place where we can question our faith or ask questions about our faith and those asking are not patronized with cookie cutter answers.
    It is the questions, after all, that lead us to a deeper understanding and a deeper walk.
    It is a place where John realizes that standing you ground gets in the way of honest interaction and demeans others.
    I’m not surprised religious people don’t understand it.

  11. Mark S. says:

    i’ll finish the quote i wrote, after “…not believing…” very simply because the important part of which was let off: “I think God is big enough to handle it…” 🙂

    • Ralph Gaily says:

      Mark… Would you be so kind as to clearly define what you mean by “not believing”, and “God is big enough to handle it”. The way I read my New Testament, it seems crystal clear that “believing” is what is being cried out for by God to an unbelieving world…..believing the Good News of Christ dying for the sins of the world, and rising from the dead….. believing that Jesus Christ came from Heaven, is truly the Son of God, and very God in the flesh…. believing that performing a lifetime of good works, or attempting to keep the Law, or doing or being anything, other than keeping faith in Christ, with merit ones eternal life. It’s all about Him and what He has done….. not us, and how we FEEL about anything….. even FEELING that God is “big enough to handle unbelief”. Not when it comes to the saving of one’s soul !! How would you interpret His words… His final words before He returned to Heaven after completing all He came here to do…. “….Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that BELIEVES NOT shall be damned…..” Mark 16:15,16 (the caps are my unapologetic emphasis). This is the fast and loose handling of God’s word that drives me to speak out. I’m not trying to win any contests here…. just trying to get peoples attention to what the Bible clearly states is important…. extremely important !! …,r

      • Mark S. says:

        Thank you, but no thanks, I’ll try not to clearly define anything to you Ralph simply because to me you have become a distraction to an on-going peace, love and harmony I often find here @ the Catch, so from now on, I’ll choose to ignore you and please do me the same favor, Ok… Also from one of my other Christian devotions discussed today: from Kenneth Copeland’s Faith to Faith: Mar 29 – That Your Prayers May Not Be Hindered (And I SURELY do not want mine to be hindred)

        But if we [really] are living and walking in the Light as He [Himself] is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another.” (1 John 1:7)

        “One area of our lives we believers need to particularly guard is the area of our relationships. We simply have to heed the Word of God where they’re concerned. Let’s not fuss (you can continue Ralph w/ your “fussing,” yet I will not!) Let’s not fuss with one another and criticize one another so much that we hinder the forces that God has given us to make us successful in this world.
        Strife also causes trouble in the spirit realm. It opens the door to the devil. It keeps our prayers from being answered. It even keeps our angels from moving on our behalf!
        Shed the light of God’s Word on your relationships. Dig into and get a revelation of the fact that we are all part of each other. Recognize that, as Ephesians tells us, we are one Body and one Spirit, and be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of that Spirit (Eph. 4:3-4). Let the power of God flow in all of your relationships. Learn to walk in the light!: (End of quotes)

        I’d much rather discuss the love Jesus Christ as put in my heart and how He has saved me with other believers and non believers.. I’ll end my discussions with you from a quote from you Ralph to Pastor John: “It’s almost Easter…. get with the program! …..,”
        PS I wounder if writting things like that have to make our Lord soooooooo proud? LOL 🙂

      • Mark S. says:

        i get a pretty good feeling i may, i just may come to regret this, yet Ralph to try and give u a hint – about honor of non – believeing, look into the doctrine of Free Will.

      • Tim Morris says:

        It’s okay to doubt your faith, It’s okay to not believe during the crisis. It doesn’t freak God out. (He can handle it)
        Our belief is not even our own but given to us by the Spirit of God.
        Discussions like these are endless because of the lack of acceptance of ideas. You don’t have to accept them for yourself but we should accept that the other person believes differently instead of insisting that others are wrong and have to change.
        This is true when talking to a Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Muslim, atheist or even a Baptist.
        As soon as the conversation moves from,”This is what I believe about it” to “This is what I believe about it and why you are wrong” communication breaks down and the free comfortable exchange of thoughts and ideas are lost. Lost with it is a chance to bond with another person.
        Some people only ask questions so they can further build their case against someone elses belief.

        Romans 8:38-39
        New International Version (NIV)
        For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  12. Ralph Gaily says:

    That’s quite a can of worms you are suggesting Mark… especially for someone who doesn’t want to simply explain his words re: “honoring unbelieving”. My question is a simple one. Explain what you mean. Maybe your pastor can jump in here and help out a bit. Your apparent high regards for Mr. Copeland and his writings helps me to understand a little better about where you are coming from. He dispenses a boatload of falsehood regarding God’s word. How much of his offerings have you digested? Back to your suggestion that I look into “the doctrine of Free Will”… which version are you recommending? There are pages and pages of versions on Google and Yahoo. My understanding of free will is that man has a free will….. given to him by God to decide for himself how he will choose to think, speak, act, or believe, etc.. The angels have one too, as does God Himself…. part of His image/likeness He injected into us originally, but still have, albeit tweaked out by our fall. Without it we would be a bunch of programed robots unable to freely love and trust the God who made us, and fulfill a desire God intended for us…. to have full, free, innocent, honest and joyous fellowship with Him because we desire, and choose to. Otherwise it wouldn’t be love…..the kind of love He experiences, and is. And that is what He wanted….for Himself and for us. Of course, something happened that screwed it all up…. and here we are arguing about things that we shouldn’t have to. Thank God He sent a Solution into the world to fix it. An incredible, almost too good to be true Solution. An amazing, free gift to us…. but extremely costly to Him. And we accept/receive this amazing, free gift by exercising that free will when we choose to believe in the Solution……His Solution…..not unbelieve. I hope you won’t ignore this conversation. …,r

  13. Mark S. says:

    Thx Tim, I like the way you phased it: “It’s okay to doubt your faith,” (And oh my God does that also imply to God it is Ok to be human?) “It’s okay to not believe during the crisis. It doesn’t freak God out. (He can handle it)” to which I’ll add an Amen. 🙂

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