“I am unqualified to define the ways in which God works” and welcome to the club Frank. I cannot conceive of anyone of the 7 odd billion people on planet earth who would be able.
Having said that, I believe God shows up under a variety of criteria. Since we don’t know our own hearts, “seeking him with all our heart” is an admirable endeavor, but difficult to conceive, measure, as well as impossible to obtain until He comes in the clouds IMHO. While “a broken and contrite heart God will not despise”. One must be careful with the various translations and be a bit of a home grown theologian to get anywhere near the true meaning of some scriptures.
For me personally, I won’t go into details, but I was raised in a very toxic home and church environment, approaching or at the cult level. When I left at age 15, I ditched anything to do with this angry God, out to terrorize me and swat me like a fly because I could never measure up.
Fast forward a few decades and with a wife and 2 little ones decided it was the right thing to do so I gave it another try. 1991 I was 40 yrs old but sadly, in looking for a place for fellowship, I was drawn to the “surface reflection” of the familiar, and wound up doing a repeat as an adult, this time with a wife and family.
I think Jesus showed up when I ditched possibly because He was trying to show me that He was The Way, and encouraging me to follow Him. Anyone that’s getting serious about following Him He can and will work with. There are Muslim’s in Syria that are being converted in uncountable numbers for the fact that Esa (Jesus) is appearing them in dreams, and for a Muslim that is a most sacred event. “Nuff” said, does anything make any sense of all this?