MAYBE it is different for each person, but when I first started looking for God, I went to various churches hoping to feel His presence there. On some days I walked by the ocean, praying and thinking about God. The churches and the long walks offered the quietness I needed at the time, but I've discovered since then that God doesn't dwell within a church building or even out over the vast expanse of ocean. God is infinite and incorporeal Spirit and can't be confined to a physical location.
To know that God is Spirit and not matter doesn't make the search for Deity harder, but it may turn our search in a new direction. If God is not to be found in the physical universe, then we must be able to know Him in our heart and thoughts. Christ Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount, as Matthew records: ``Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.''
It is the condition of our heart -- our integrity, our purity, our honesty, our love -- that opens our eyes to God's presence. How do we go about purifying our heart so that we can see God better? We can start in a small way: we can, for instance, be unselfish when we would rather be selfish; or be honest when we are tempted to cheat. In my own life, I have felt closest to God when I have been doing something kind. This hints at a deeper spiritual fact: that expressing qualities such as love or integrity shows man's unity with his creator.
We think of ourselves as searching for God, but the spiritual truth is we can never be separated from Him. Understanding our permanent relation to Him answers the inner longing to be close to God. And recognizing that the relationship of God and man is spiritual unites us forever with our divine Parent. If man already has such spiritual unity with God, then our search for Him should be to find out about that unity. Infinite Spirit, God, has created man as His likeness. This is not a material likeness. It is a spiritual likeness in which man reflects the immortality of Truth, the intelligence of Mind, and the incorporeality of Spirit. Looking for God might be best described as finding out what is already true: that our own expression of Godlike qualities is a witness to the presence and goodness of God.
On this basis, then, getting to know God doesn't have to be a long-drawn-out search. Our heavenly Father doesn't hide Himself from His offspring. So if we don't think that we are experiencing much of God's presence in our life, it could be that we are still trying to find Him as a physical being. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``That God is a corporeal being, nobody can truly affirm. The Bible represents Him as saying: `Thou canst not see My face; for there shall no man see Me, and live.' Not materially but spiritually we know Him as divine Mind, as Life, Truth, and Love.''
Each person's search for God may be started for different reasons, but the end goal is largely the same -- to know that God is present and that we can understand Him. We can trust the Bible promise from Jeremiah that assures us we are all able to find God: ``Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the Lord.''
When our search for God is guided by a desire to be like Him and express His nature in our thoughts and actions, we will find that nothing can keep us from discovering more and more about our ever-present and all-loving God.