An interesting question came up recently in our small group: “What do you perceive God to be like?”
Varied answers followed:
“He’s a provider.”
“He feels distant.”
Then came this response: “He’s a God who pursues us.”
While other world religions leave mankind believing we must pursue God with good works or outstanding character to gain His favor and forgiveness, Christianity teaches the opposite—God pursues us. He lavishes His love on us, not because we deserve it but because He cherishes us and wants relationship with us.
Imagine! God reached down from heaven and revealed His love to mankind through His Son Jesus Christ. By sending Jesus to pay our sin penalty through His death by crucifixion, God pursued the world with a love that knows no bounds. As if that weren’t enough, He also pursues us on an individual basis.
Hagar, an Egyptian slave, experienced God’s loving pursuit in her life. Genesis 16:7-9 tell the story of her running away from her abusive owner—Sarai, Abram’s wife. Pregnant, exhausted, discouraged, and afraid, she sat alone in the wilderness and wondered what might befall her. Her future appeared hopeless, but God, all-loving and all-knowing, showed up and engaged her in conversation:
“The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a desert spring along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?’”
God pursues people in a myriad of ways. We hear stories of spiritual seekers who end up sitting beside Jesus followers on a plane, for instance, who unashamedly share the Gospel with them. Who ultimately arranges those seating plans? God—because He’s pursuing those unbelievers.
What about a man struggling with suicidal thoughts who receives a life-saving phone call from a friend at just the right moment? Or the young woman considering abortion who happens to hear a song with lyrics that speak to her heart’s need and convince her to keep her baby?
God pursues us because He wants relationship with us. He woos us through His written words. He draws us through the beauty of creation. He blesses us through the kindness of a friend or stranger. Do we recognize these things for what they are—God’s relentless pursuit of us so that we might experience Him?