March 29, 2019
"But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'" Genesis 3:9 (NIV)
The first time I eyed him, he was sitting on the floor at a friend's Bible study with his back against the wall, dressed in scruffy jeans and a red flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled halfway up his muscular forearms. His thick brown hair and chocolate-brown eyes left me weak in the knees. And the best part was that this handsome man (whom I eventually married) had a tattered Bible in his lap. I was smitten from the first time I laid eyes on Steve.
One night, Steve asked me to a college football game, and I agreed to go. Then he said, "Can I just ask you? Will you go with me to all of the football games for the rest of the year?"
"I'm not going to answer that question," I replied. "You'll just have to ask me each week."
Looking back on those early days, what I was really saying was that I wanted to be pursued. None of this blanket-invitation-for-the-entire-season business. I wanted to be wooed and won. Even though he had me the moment I saw him sitting on the shag carpet, I didn't want him to know that. I wanted him to show me I was worth putting forth the effort to capture my heart. Isn't that the desire of every human heart?
And nobody does it better than God.
The entire Bible, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22:21, is a record of God's passionate pursuit of the human heart. We end the last chapter of the Old Testament with silence. And then 400 years later, God breaks the holy hush with the cry of a babe in a manger as the story picks back up in Bethlehem.
From God's first question, "Where are you?" until Jesus' final words, "It is finished," we see God drawing mankind with "cords of kindness" that sometimes appear anything but kind - drawing people back to Himself "with ties of love" (Hosea 11:4, NIV). We've wiggled and wrangled trying to break free of those cords, but He continues to lasso us with love and draw us in. Asking yet again, "Where are you?"
God has pulled out all the stops to pursue you and me. Moved heaven and earth - literally - to win us back, to reestablish the glory that was lost in the Garden. Most of us feel that we have to pursue God continually, as if He were hard to find. And as long as we believe that, our faith journey will be difficult. It will be arduous.
After all, Jesus reminded us, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV). And yet, easy and light are not words that come quickly to mind when most think of their faith journey.
God is wooing us, stirring us, awakening a longing for Him in our souls.
Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them" (John 6:44a, NIV). He tunes the violin and pulls the bow across the strings of your heart and waits for you to recognize the melody wooing you into relationship with Him. Because you're reading this devotion, He knows you're listening.
I have been in an all-out pursuit of God for most of my adult life. But when He turned my telescope around, the truth became clear. I had it all wrong. He was much too small, and I far too big. I began to see He was the one pursing me with an outstretched hand, inviting me to live and move and have my being in Him. And friend, God is pursuing you, too!
What's the key to experiencing God's passionate pursuit? It's simple, really. We must recognize and acknowledge His presence as we live and move and have our being in Him. Acts 17:28 must be more than a nice Bible verse; it must become a way of life. When it does, sudden glory moments where we recognize His presence will fill our lives and take our breath away. It is a divine romance of the purest kind.
Dear Father, thank You for pursuing me more fervently and passionately than anyone else ever will. As You continue to woo my heart every day, help me come to You and be overwhelmed with the expanse of Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 3:17b-19, "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How have you seen God pursue you in the past? What are some ways you can become even more aware of God's passionate pursuit of your heart?
Joint the conversation! Share your thoughts (about how God has wooed you) in our comments section.
© 2019 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.