Finding God in Nazareth

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“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” The question echoes into 21st century America. When Nathanael is told that the Messiah has been found in this backwoods, spot in the road, his response is one of shocked disbelief.  How could this little village, estimated to have had fewer than 500 residents at the time of Christ produce anything good, especially on the scale of the Messiah?  But it is consistent with the humble origins of God incarnate. Born in a manger amongst beasts of burden, God is found in the most unlikely places.

We desperately need God; like we need water. Without Him we will perish. But how intentionally are we looking for Him?  Perhaps unknowingly we are searching; indirectly as we throw ourselves into our pursuit of the next relationship, entertainment or cause. But when will it register in all of our exertion that what we’re really looking for is God?  When will we ask ourselves if all our activity is nothing more than a distraction from discovering the one legitimate and worthwhile pursuit of our lives?

God is found in the most unlikely places. Recently, I discovered that God still lives in Nazareth; our rural communities of America. They are much like the original Nazareth of Jesus’ day.  Small assimilations of souls dotting the countryside; for many of us, forgotten names on a folded map tucked away in a drawer somewhere. Nazareth is Burns Flat, Gotebo, Rocky, and Cordell. It’s Mountain View, Dill City, Sentinel, and many, many more just like them. These are the places where no one is really looking to find God, let alone expecting to introduce Him to someone who lives there. But God still lives in Nazareth.

It’s time we came to grips with our own need for God and stop ourselves, dead in our tracks, and ask some piercing questions, “What am I looking for?” “When did I lose God in all my searching?” “Where can I find Him now?” God is found in the most unlikely places, the Nazareths of our world. If you’re looking to find God, you might turn around and try walking down a country road.