Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Cory Monteith's Bitter Words Remind Us All: Seek God Continually
This morning as I watched the Today Show, the ongoing questions over the death of actor Cory Monteith were near the top of the program. One of the past clips of Monteith showed him on a show called Inside the Actor Studio, with moderator James Lipton asking Monteith about dying—what would the actor like to hear God say to him as he arrives in heaven? Monteith’s response:
“Sorry I haven’t been around; there’s a good explanation.”
The audience laughed, but it just broke my heart.
I had never heard of Cory Monteith before his recent death and swirling interest around it; apparently he was a teen idol working on the hit TV show Glee. But, it doesn’t matter what he did while he was here if he never developed a relationship with God; I certainly hope that he did.
We should never, ever judge whether or not someone came to know God before he/she died; it could happen in an instant before a person’s death. We just have no way of knowing what is in a person’s heart. That is why He is the judge, not us. But, it is clear that at the time of that interview—given last year, according to the Today Show report—Monteith was still struggling with building a relationship with God.
It is easy for us to stand on the outside looking in and wonder how someone who seemed to be blessed with a wonderful life could be so unaware of the presence of God but, again, we cannot know what hurts he had experienced in the past or what influences led him to believe that God had not been around in his life. We can only hope that he came to realize that, in fact, God WAS there the entire time.
It is US who turn away from God.
In Deuteronomy 31:16, God states very clearly to Moses about the fickleness of people and how they will turn away from Him and to other gods, and makes it plain that His anger will be kindled when this happens. In Verse 18, He states, “And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.”
God does not EVER leave us; with our actions, we leave Him—and we should not expect Him to just sit and watch it happen. If that needs to be made more clear than in Deuteronomy, just read Isaiah 59:1-2:
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.
Does it need to be made any more clear than that?
God is ALWAYS available to us, but we must continually seek Him; He will not chase after us if we choose to go away from Him. Too often, this is how we mistakenly believe it works: We run off in whatever direction we choose, and God will follow behind us, waiting to save us when—not IF but WHEN—we find ourselves lost and in trouble. No. God does not seek US; it is us who are to seek HIM.
If you are not finding God in your life, it is because you are not seeking Him.
If you are not finding God in your life, it is because YOU have left HIM, not the other way around.
How do you find God once you have turned from Him?
Jeremiah 29:13 tells us, “And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”
Not when you just have a weak moment; not when you have no other options and half-heartedly whisper a panicked prayer because there is nothing else left to do; not because God is a catch-all safety net who will never let bad come to you. No. When you seek Him with ALL YOUR HEART you will find Him.
Unfortunately, some of us have our hearts hardened to the point that we will never seek Him during our lifetimes. As we turn away from Him and continue to live our lives in sin, we move further and further from Him, hardening our hearts and making it harder and harder to find Him again. We hear this type of misfortune in the bitter words of Cory Monteith, who believed that during his life God had not been around. For this reason, we should heed the warning in Isaiah 55:6:
Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.
While He is NEAR.
Like any situation, the worse you let it get, the harder it is to get back to level ground.
The good news is that it is never too late if you will come to Him, seeking with all your heart.
Let’s hope Cory Monteith’s heart came to that revelation before he left the natural world, and pray that the hearts of others still here will do the same.